Stupidest Poll Of The Campaign Season (So Far)

Ken AshfordElection 2008Leave a Comment

The Associated Press wrote up results from an AP/Yahoo poll showing that John McCain does better than Barack Obama among pet owners than among Americans who do not own a pet.

John McCain leads by Barack Obama by five points among pet owners (42% to 37%), while Obama leads by 14 point (48% to 34%) among those who do not own a pet.

That’s right… Obama is suffering from a pet-owner gap.

The poll is being appropriately mocked by everyone, simply because it is so mockable.

A few things to consider:

(1)  First of all, if you poll on any metric, someone is probably going to come out ahead.  However, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything.  I suppose if you surveyed scrambled egg lovers vs. fried egg lovers, you’ll find that either Obama or McCain is favored by one group over the other.  So?

(2)  That said, there may be some underlying (and totally reasonable) explanation for the results.  I’m only speculating here, but one could easily see that wealthier people, or home-owners, or married people are more likely to own pets than poorer people or apartment dwellers or single people.  And wealthier people and home-owners and married people probably skew more Republican.  Mystery solved. 

In other words, correlation is not causation. Pet owners may prefer McCain for reasons that have nothing to do with pet ownership.  Didn’t they teach that in Surveys 101?