Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The BBC and GlobeScan: The Ben and Jerry's of international public opinion

A new BBC poll shows – big surprise – that pretty much the whole world wants to see Barack Obama elected President of the United States.

Allahpundit speculates that such findings might help McCain more than Obama, given how big a hit The One's performance in Germany proved to be with the folks back home, and points out that, either way, being rated unfavourably in a BBC poll should be seen as something of a badge of honour.

I wrote about the highly dubious polling produced by the BBC/GlobeScan partnership with regards to global warming climate change last year. GlobeScan and its fellow-travellers at the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes and World Public Opinion are focused almost exclusively on promoting leftist talking points, which of course chimes nicely with the BBC's own worldview.

In case you're in any doubt as to where their sympathies lie, here are a few other BBC/GlobeScan polls we've known and loved:

Iran is probably developing nuclear weapons, but we can talk them out of it, and anyway this isn’t about Iran, it’s a global problem

Pakistanis: Without Musharraf, Pakistan would look a lot like Rhode Island

Loss of innocent life generally preferable to torture

Too much free trade globalisation a bad thing

You can almost smell the funding from some Soros-linked operation. As for methodology, I'm guessing they sample roughly 50/50 from college campuses and slums.

Here's a message from GlobeScan president Doug Miller.

'At the same time, we consider ourselves part of the democratic process, "letting the people speak" to decision-makers on matters that affect them - at meetings of world leaders, expert forums, and the boardrooms of major companies.'

It's Saul Alinksy and community organising on a global scale. And we all know who the world's biggest and bestest community organiser is, don't we?

Update: A guy from GlobeScan has left a comment, and I've replied.


Sam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sam said...

Actually, you're wrong. We take our objectivity pretty seriously at GlobeScan, and we and the research partners around the world that we work with do everything we can to reach fully representative samples of adults in the countries we survey. Check out this survey, commissioned by the US-based German Marshall Fund and released today, which largely corroborates our findings.

I don't suppose the BBC would be particularly interested in sponsoring a global poll of 'college campuses and slums', as you put it. (No shadowy Soros-type funding behind it - sorry to disappoint you.)

We draw our respondents scientifically from a random sample of 2.5 billion. If anything, it'll slightly underrepresent the views of the rural poor in developing countries, which all pollsters find difficult to reach, and overstate the views of the urban and more affluent (and often more conservative) middle classes.

Remember, we just ask the questions.

Your rhetoric is amusing, but next time, check your facts first.


Sam Mountford
Research Director, GlobeScan

Mike said...

Thanks for stopping by Sam, but I stand by the gist of my argument. Everyone knows that polling data can be manipulated to produce the results the pollsters are looking for.

Is it just a coincidence that, as I pointed out, your findings so often mirror the soft-left worldview of the BBC? The media, and organisations such as yourselves that work with the media, have created a nice little echo-chamber. You tell the world what to think, then you canvas its views – which are informed to a certain degree by what you've been telling them – and feed the data back into the system.

And your point 'I don't suppose the BBC would be particularly interested in sponsoring a global poll of 'college campuses and slums', as you put it,' completely misses my point. The BBC would publish a poll of cows in a field if the consensus view of those cows was that 'George Bush is a moron'.You might want to acquaint yourself with some of the polling data regarding the public's perceptions of the media.

Oh – and being a pollster yourself, you must surely be aware that 'urban and affluent' people skew left, not conservative.

Here's another suggestion for you. Before you trumpet the views of the world citizenery, why don't you carry out a survey to find out just how much people in the world know about US politics. Ask them if they know about Obama's connections to Rezko and Ayers. Find out how much they really about the threats posed by terrorists and countries like Iran.

I suspect you'd find their views are based on partisanship, ignorance and envy of the US rather than any understanding of the issues. That doesn't mean they're not entitled to their views, but it does mean that we can choose not to take them seriously, and that GlobeScan and the BBC are being disingenuous when you present your findings as being of significance.

As for rhetoric – it's a lot more effective when it's dressed up as serious and impartial analysis isn't it? Though maybe not as amusing.

Thanks for the input. We'll have to agree to disagree.


Mike said...

Oh yes – I almost forgot the one where you discovered that China and Russia are more popular than the US.

Good, serious work you're doing there Sam.