Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bogus poll influences RTW4Less battle in Michigan

One of the reasons Michigan lawmakers may be emboldened to consider an anti-worker, pro-poverty measure like right-to-work-for-less is that the Detroit News published a poll showing Michiganders support it.

There are two things to consider:

1. Many people don't know what "right to work" is. Remember, it was cleverly named to sound as if it's pro-worker. It's not. It forces unions to bear the cost of representing everyone in a bargaining unit, but relieves the workers of the responsibility of paying dues.

All that fairy dust they sprinkle around about "freedom" and "choice"? Right-to-work in fact is government interference in a contract between an employer and employees.

2. The polling company hired to conduct the Detroit News is -- well, not credible. The firm, Mitchell Research and Communications, Inc., was one of a few firms to show Romney ahead or even in Michigan.  Mitchell's final poll was wildly off base, showing Obama leading by five points. Obama's final margin in Michigan was 9.5 percent.

Nate Silver is the most credible and accurate pollster around. Silver called "troubling" the poll's assumption that African Americans would make up only 8 percent of Michigan's turnout. That's much, much lower than their turnout in previous elections, according to exit polls conducted since 2000. Silver wrote that the head of Mitchell Research, Steve Mitchell, said he simply didn't believe that black turnout ever exceeded 9 percent, but presented no evidence to back up that claim.

Here's what Silver wrote about Mitchell:
I've never heard of a pollster treating the demographic makeup of a state as essentially a matter of opinion.
Bottom line: Michigan state lawmakers take up the right-to-work-for-less measure at their peril.