SomeDisagree insiders know that I was a late addition to this blog; unlike Wiesman and snarkologist, I was not involved in any of the conception or planning of this whole venture. Thus, as our regular readers may have noticed, my posts display significantly less commitment to the ostensible theme of this blog than do theirs. But last night, when I ethered one of the Ron Paul devotees with whom I regularly converse for citing a sketchy “poll,” I knew I had to make a post.
Here’s how it went: A very enthusiastic Ron Paul supporter that I know linked me to this YouTube video purporting to report the results of a poll showing that Ron Paul had surpassed Mitt Romney for second place in the Michigan primary. Here’s that video.
For those of you disinclined to actually click play (can’t blame you), here are the “results.”
Rick Santorum – 33%
Ron Paul – 26%
Mitt Romney – 25%
Newt Gingrich – 16%
If those “results” instantly strike you as being incredibly strange, then you’re doing it right. A quick check over at RealClearPolitics shows that recent polling in Michigan has produced the following results:
Rick Santorum – 33.8%
Mitt Romney – 33%
Ron Paul – 11.4%
Newt Gingrich – 9.2%
The projections at FiveThirtyEight show a similarly close race between Santorum and Romney
Rick Santorum – 37.2%
Mitt Romney – 36.8%
Ron Paul – 12.6%
Newt Gingrich – 10.2%
Once I compared these numbers, I was fairly sure I knew what was going on: someone, probably a wacky Ron Paul supporter, was making up poll results with inflated numbers for Ron Paul in an attempt to boost enthusiasm for him. Still though, I kept a (relatively) open mind and visited the “pollster’s” website, cpctcss.org, to see if there was anything at all worthwhile here.
My expectation was to find what one typically finds on stupid political websites: a bunch of plausible-sounding stuff with a facade of intellectual honesty that can fool gullible people but crumbles under any sort of informed scrutiny. Instead, I found something a bit more sinister.
The website, which looks like something I might have whipped up the night before it was due for a basics-level Digital Media class at GW, contained not even the faintest facsimile of integrity. There were no press releases, no data breakdowns, no crosstabs, no information about sample size or margin of error, nothing of the kind. In its place, there was just this
The Cap Cats team uses census data to help target the correct demographics. Beyond this we us a proprietary weighting method to best reflect the differences in community make up. Weighted variables may include age, race, gender, region, party, education, and religion. Cap Cats analysis confidence interval is 95% or higher in all surveys. Data is sometimes collected over a time period and analyzed to insure validity and reliability. Even though our data is free to the public in the form of simplified publication. We offer full data sets to all donors of $10 or more.
Cap Cats Polling and Tracking Agency is committed to improving the truthfulness in data and poll tracking. Through hard work and dedication, we can make a difference! We regularly send pollster out to collect data from active voters and provide this information free to the public and political committees. Recently we have expanded our operations. We have been successful in collecting data that has spurred efforts to stamp out election fraud and voter manipulation by the mainstream media.
Our volunteer base is growing daily as citizens have found a voice and renewed sense of hope. You too can make a difference.
There are two ways to support our efforts:
1. Donations – Financial Support is Welcome and Appreciated
Along with a PayPal donate button. (Emphasis added in quotes added).
A quick visit to the “Cap Cats” youtube page revealed more wildly inaccurate “polls” and more conspiratorial rhetoric written with shockingly bad grammar. An example:
The Mass Media Is Ignoring Ron Paul, even though he has an obvious huge following, and an audience eager for news about their preferred candidate.
Mitt Romney Leads In Mass Media Mention and Twitter Mention. A news article can spike Twitter Mentions by 5 to 15 thousand. Romney definitely gets the most media attention. Which is unfair to other candidates and leads the public to believe he is the winner. Undecided voters tend to vote for the person who they are told will win even if they are not aligned politically with the candidate.
Ron Paul is within a few percent in mentions even though he only received 6% of all Mass Media mentions.
Rick Santorum is tied for second in mentions, but leads in negative mentions. He leads in positive press.
Newt Gingrich’s election numbers are disproportionate to his social media following. A good indicator of election fraud.
In case anyone is still unclear on what’s happening here, we have a site that exists for no reason other than to disseminate false polling data for the purpose of scamming PayPal “donations” out of Ron Paul supporters and other conspiracy theorists.
Now, I don’t have sympathy for anyone dumb enough to be taken in by this nonsense. I especially don’t have sympathy for any libertarian who gives money to these swindlers, because they insist regulations designed to prevent exactly this sort of behavior are “oppressive” or “unconstitutional” or “evil.” And in a small, somewhat perverse way, I’m very happy this site exists, because I greatly enjoyed mocking the acquaintance who linked me to it.
That all said, I do have a major problem with the shocking, bald, unrelenting hypocrisy of this site. Manufacturing false poll data and fooling gullible people with it is one thing; doing so while claiming to be fighting election fraud and voter manipulation is quite another.
Unfortunately, I can’t help but think that the creators of this site took their inspiration from the rest of modern political culture. It’s a sad comment on the state of politics that the sort of hypocrisy the Cap Cats are engaged in is really par for the course these days; the brazen deception isn’t far off either.