Friday, October 24, 2008

Complaints and questions

C: I've received the OR for 20 years and have come to rely upon it as a
primary news source. However, as somebody who has been following the
presidential election closely, I was surprised to see you feature the
AP article, "AP poll: Race tightening in final weeks" prominently on
the front page. As you probably know, AP is not the only organization
out their conducting polling and, as pointed out in the article, the
results of the AP poll differ widely from MOST of the other reputable
polls. If you would like to see an effective comparison of all of the
presidential polling data, I suggest you visit
this site. In any case, given the anomalous nature of the AP poll, I think that the OR exhibited
bad judgment in highlighting this information on the front page. - A.L.

A: Polls rarely come up with the same results, and they can be way off at times. What was significant about the AP poll was that it did differ from the other polls and came up with results that showed the race much tighter than other polls indicate. Also, this poll suggested the race is growing increasingly tighter. That is news, and the fact that this poll employed basically the same standards as other national polls and had a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points gave it veracity.

Granted, we at this newspaper may put a little more trust in the AP poll because we are a part of the Associated Press. Not many readers realize it, by the AP is not just a service we purchase; it is a worldwide cooperative in which member newspapers and other media share the news they gather and pool their resources in order to cover news around the world that would be impossible to cover on their own. The news that the O-R gathers and writes is picked up by the AP and offered to other newspapers, TV and radio stations, and what those others gather is offered to us.


Anonymous said...

This is certainly news to me. I live in upstate NY where my impression has been that Barack Obama is a sure thing. After the past two elections in particular, I believe that it is not over until it's over. Apparently the AP poll backs me up. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for explaining the AP structure.