Talk:Polling data on President Bush's approval rating indicates recent decline

Active discussions

Before placing a tagEdit

note; irid:t, please do not place your edits at the top of the page anymore unless you wish everyone to do the same.

I did so in the interest of creating visibility in a talk page with a lengthy discussion. Most people will skip straight to the bottom of the page, thus missing a notice that is important to the community. It is a wiki, you can edit as you please. Add to the top of pages if you like. Hell, erase the entire talk page. Why not create more mock-copies of my text as replies to my comments? Do whatever you want, Neut. irid:t 03:10, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
please watch the hostility; this is no place for it. Neutralizer 18:40, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
Please address the concerns on the talk page before placing tags. Tags should be a last resort and please consider use the tag edit instead to improve the article. Also, please do not place a tag if not available to collaborate over the corrections needed. Neutralizer 03:00, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Before Reverting or removing tagEdit

Please note that it is not a constructive activity to simply remove a tag. The concerns in the tag are valid and need to be address. Please consider using that edit instead to address those concerns. Thank you. irid:t 02:35, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

It can be constructive to simply remove a tag, if the tag is not constructive in the first place. -- Avenue 03:33, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
Once a tag is placed, its generally accepted that the person who placed it agree to have it removed. No one's opinion is more important than mine or yours. IMO, a tag requires a consensus to remove if an article is as disputed as this one. Jason Safoutin 03:35, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
That sets up a catch-22 situation if the person placing the tag is unwilling to discuss anything on the talk page. -- Avenue 03:38, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
And while I generally agree in principle that no one's opinion is more important than others, I think that in practice the judgement of constructively involved editors should take precedence over pronouncements from a distant oracle who apparently can't be bothered to explain these statements, let alone make constructive edits him- or herself. -- Avenue 04:11, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
It can be. It usually isn't when done out of frustration or anger. Hence the notice. irid:t 03:37, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
Fair enough. -- Avenue 03:39, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Great WorkEdit

Its not easy to copyedit poll results. Very good job. Neutralizer 16:42, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

Cleanup noticeEdit

The following reason was given for the cleanup notice added by Mrmiscellanious: "As per WN:NOT, "Wikinews articles are not editorials. Articles should restrict themselves to reporting news and not commenting on the news or newsmakers."

The subject of this story is the CBS poll and its results. I see no editorial commentary on the poll (e.g. criticising its methodology or focus) in the current version of our story. If I have missed something, please enlighten me. In the meantime, I am going to remove the notice, since I can see no good reason for it. -- Avenue 01:17, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure what MrM's issues with the report are, but mine are with the interpretation of the statistics, and the emotionally loaded language used to report them. (I am, unfortunately, someone very sensitive to statistics as I have done a lot of them.)
...President Bush's poll numbers are suffering across the board.
This is an example of anthropomorphism used to convince an audience of a specific point of view. A more neutral report would be "President Bush's popularity poll results are lower across the board." (allowing a bit more flexibility than the survey actually allows, but makes the report at least readable.)
Three times as many people... Ten times as many people...
No actual numbers are reported to support these statements. If 15% of respondents said one thing, and 47% of respondents said something else, that does not necessarily mean 3 times as many saids something else; it depends on the sample weighting and a variety of additional variables which we may not know about. It's one of the issues of a polling report which does not include a methodologies section. Stick to the numbers in the report, don't interpret them.
46% of those polled believe the Iraqi people feel resentment as opposed to 32% who feel grateful.
Accuracy to instrument is important. 46% felt most people in Iraq feel resentment, while 32% feel most people in Iraq are grateful, and 13% feel most people in Iraq are both grateful and resentful (note this is the highest since just after the invasion, and is a reverse of the previous trend data.)
Similar issues are throughout the article in my brief comparison of the report with the Wikinews article. The data highlighted appears to be reported in a manner to highlight sensational findings, and ignores the trends present in this 4-point survey data report. Longitudinal findings are far more relevant than the current findings. - Amgine | talk en.WN 01:45, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, your detailed and specific criticism is very useful. It gives us something to get our teeth into, in contrast to the general reference to a Wikinews policy that's given in the clean-up notice. -- Avenue 03:55, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
One minor point about your last edit summary: " - publish; please don't publish a tagged article". The publish tag was there before the cleanup tag was added, and the editor who originally added the cleanup tag failed to remove it (and so did you when you added the cleanup tag again). -- Avenue 09:44, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
I have dealt with Amgine's specific concerns in my recent edits. (I personally think that the "x times as many people..." objections were not terribly significant, but it was easier to change the relevant passages than argue.) I believe the concern about emotionally loaded language has also been addressed. I don't agree with the concern expressed about highlighting sensational findings; selection of the most interesting parts of a story is part of all news reporting. I do agree that the longitudinal trends are more interesting than current numbers, and some further work on incorporating these would be useful (but not vital). However, while I'm not entirely happy with the article yet, I believe it is certainly in better shape than many articles published here. I will therefore remove the cleanup tag and republish the article. If anyone still has serious concerns, please voice them here and make some constructive edits before retagging the article. -- Avenue 10:10, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

anglo/american point of viewEdit

Although I am sure the tagging editors are acting in good faith; if this article was about any other administration in the world, I doubt there would be the tags. If there was concern, the article would simply be edited. Wikinews policy advises us to be on guard against the anglo/american centric pov, which I believe is behind this commotion over an attempt to report simple poll results. The tags are without any merit whatsoever,imo, and should be removed immediately; and the tagger should work on the article rather than just complaining, at least that's the way it seems to me. Neutralizer 04:57, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Tag has no actionable objectionsEdit

Tagger does not collaborate so it's impossible to deal with unclear concerns; please join the collaboration here on the talk page. Neutralizer 23:34, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

I refuse to "collaborate" here (if you can even call it that) if you continue reverting good-faith edits. --MrMiscellanious (talk) – 23:41, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

New cleanup noticeEdit

Mrmiscellanious recently added a cleanup tag, citing the following reasons:

"Do not assert that polls are facts. When citing from polls, used "those polled..." not "Americans think..." In addition, there are large gaps between transitioning of the various polls which make this article hard to follow - as well as some other questions and answers of the polls that are ommitted from this article. Please revise."

I feel that this style of editing (repeatedly tagging without discussion on the talk page) comes across as confrontational. I believe that simply making some substantive edits, and initiating or adding to discussions here, would be more constructive.

Moving on to the reasons cited:

What does "various polls" refer to? The CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll? The earlier CBS polls? Please give specific examples of where this is unclear, and show us how one could be fixed. This does not warrant a cleanup tag, in my opinion.

I don't agree that we should say "those polled think..." rather than "Americans think...". Because the data is weighted, a result such as Bush's approval rating of 34% is an estimate of the percentage of American adults who would approve of Bush's job performance, if all Americans were polled. It is not the percentage of those polled who approved. Instead it is a weighted percentage designed to give the best estimate possible from the survey data of what American adults think. So "34% of Americans ..." is more appropriate than "34% of those polled". Even better would be "The poll found that 34% of Americans...".

I feel that the comment "Do not assert that polls are facts" misses the point. It is clear from the story as a whole that statements such "57% of Americans expressed disapproval of President Bush's performance as president" are based on the poll results. We are reporting the fact that this is what the poll results show. I agree that when the notice was added, the wording could have benefited from making this slightly more obvious, and I have made some changes to do so. But adding a cleanup notice over this was over the top, in my opinion. I will remove it again.

Please make constructive edits and contribute to the discussion here. Please do not tag the article for cleanup again, unless you have better reasons than you have expressed so far. -- Avenue 01:17, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

First of all, I'm pretty sure your edit will be reverted. But secondly, the point MrM makes about polling results is that they are not true as per the definition of a poll. They do not ask every single citizen of the United States, there is a margin of error, and there is bias in the polling methods. They don't accurately represent the American populous. Some people who are unable to think for themselves believe that polls magically determine the beliefs of everyone, including themselves. It's important to understand that these polls are misleading at times. They are not fact. Therefore their inclusion as fact is invalid. irid:t 01:40, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
I already discussed the "fact" issue above. Our article reports the poll results, as described in the CBS report on their poll. It is a fact that CBS have conducted this poll, and that their results purport to describe the views of all American adults. These are the facts that we are reporting. If this is unclear from the article, then this needs to be addressed. But I think the article is very clear about this.
We address the margin of sampling error in the first paragraph. I agree that polls can be misleading at times, and that "bias" (in the statistical sense) can sometimes be a serious issue. However any bias would have to be large to affect the sense of most results here, and this seems unlikely to me. Is there any evidence of bias in this survey? If so, we should report on it. -- Avenue 03:32, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Another tact might be to just quote the CBS poll report itself, which does make assertions like "xx% of Americans think...", so we should be able to say "according to the CBS poll xx% of Americans think ..." That would be more accurate (to satisfy Ironiridis), more qualified (to satisfy MrMiscellaneous) but still assertive (to satisfy Aveneue). SethDelisle 01:54, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
I would agree wholeheartedly with Seth's suggestion, if I wasn't confused by the fact that we already do this (or something close to it), at least for the initial sentence of each paragraph of results (with one exception). Are you suggesting doing this for every sentence? It seems like this is unnecessary, because the context makes it clear that we are reporting the CBS poll's findings, and would make the article much less readable. -- Avenue 03:13, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
You're not satisfying me, I'm just restating what MrM has said previously. :) Anyway, you could shake it up with things like "according to the poll" "the poll indicates" "the data indicates", etc. These things are all factual and still leave the reader to come to their own conclusions about whether the poll is correct. irid:t 03:17, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Ironiridis. Jason Safoutin 03:18, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
Also, with regard to context, POV is all about subtext. That is, the things we don't say are louder than the things we do. I mean, unless you come right out and bash somebody (*cough*). It's almost needed in a report such as this. I think what I meant here was that you need to be explicit in everything when you're talking about such a touchy subject with such a large potential audience. irid:t 03:20, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
What is almost needed? You lost me here. -- Avenue 03:35, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
That part... I don't remember why I said that. Chalk it up to me still being at work 13 hours after I got here. :) irid:t 03:40, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

As I explained above, it is simply not correct to say that "63% of those polled believe the troops will remain in Iraq for two or more years" (my emphasis), due to weighting. Ironiridis, what were you trying to convey here with this wording? Perhaps we can agree on some phrasing that suits us both. -- Avenue 05:12, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Then the polling data cannot be used. It is simply not accurate to say %x of Americans say y because they didn't. We can only say that so many of polled Americans said something, and the fact of the matter is that the weighting is unavoidable in this instance. So either the number is wrong or the fact is wrong. Pick one. I'm sorry.irid:t 05:15, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
Technically, the most accurate thing to say would be: "the CBS poll estimates that xx% of Americans think ..."SethDelisle 18:44, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, I would guess that the unweighted figure is probably within 5 percentage points of the reported figures, and often closer. So we could say "roughly x% of those polled...".
Or we could use the formula Seth suggested above, where we say "according to the CBS poll xx% of Americans think ..." or the variations you suggested throughout. I think this is implicit in the current text, but we can make it explicit. -- Avenue 06:28, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

The latest cleanup noticeEdit

The latest cleanup notice from Mrmiscellanious gives the following reason for its emplacement: "This article STILL ASSERTS that polls are a representation of all Americans. Please do not continue to assert this. The title also needs to be changed to something more neutral. Notes and notations need to be removed. Sections need to be reformatted."

The title has since been changed. I'm not sure what is meant by "notes and notations". Could this refer to the items in parentheses?

"Sections need to be reformatted." Does anyone have better mind-reading skills than I do about what exactly is desired here?

The article does not assert that "polls are a representation of all Americans." It simply doesn't assert that this particular poll is not a representation of all Americans. (I get the impression that Mrmiscellanious wishes we would.) There is a big difference between these two positions. We can report the assertions by CBS that this particular poll does represent all Americans without saying that every poll is perfect, and even without asserting that their poll is representative. I would be quite happy for us to report assertions that it is not representative, if they are from a reputable or newsworthy source. -- Avenue 07:55, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

  • That's absurd for you to make those assertions. Polls are never facts. Statements like this assert they are:

64% of Americans believe the outcome in Iraq will not affect security ...

When asked why President Bush went to war, 21% said it was to protect the United States ...
Aside of all of that, I do not see how a bunch of polls merged can be an article. It seems a little too much like we're ripping off sources. Polls should be mentioned in articles, not be their own articles. --MrMiscellanious (talk) – 11:47, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
First, thank you for engaging in the discussion.
So you find it absurd that I assert that the article doesn't assert what you think it asserts. Hmmm. We do seem to be reading the article quite differently.
To me, your quotes prove nothing except that quotes out of context can be used to prove anything. Both of these quotes follow shortly after other passages beginning "The poll estimates that 47% of Americans think ..." and "According to the poll results, the majority of Americans, 54%, believe ...", which seem to me to clearly be stating facts about the poll. And they provide a context in which your quotes can be read (at least by me) as facts about the poll. There has already been plenty of discussion above about how extensive such provisos should be in this article, and what sort of phrases are suitable. Did you not notice this? -- Avenue 13:55, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
MrMiscellanious said that "notes and notations" need to be removed from the article, and I asked for clarification above about what this meant. I have now removed all parentheses from the article, assuming (in the absence of any response) that this is what was meant. -- Avenue 17:00, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

tag removalEdit

It seems to me that the article has been delayed long enough with no path having been presented by the tagger to follow which would remove his concerns 100%. Is it time to remove the tag on a consensus basis? I say yes: what do the other involved editors have to say. If someone thinks it should never be published please just say so for clarity sake. Neutralizer 14:43, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

  • Why don't you stop ignoring my claims and start acknowledging them? Oh, that's right. I'm an American who supported Bush. I must insert bias in every single article, and stop those I don't like from being published. Y'know, it's amazing that after all these months, you still do whatever you want - remove a tag because you don't like it, reinsert your messages on users' talk pages where they don't want your comments (I can recall at least a dozen times where you have done the same to me on your page), and leaving little messages on your "team"'s talk pages whenever something doesn't go your way. I'm sick of it. Remove the tag if you want, but don't you dare do it if you haven't addressed my concerns. That is disruption, it is stated in our blocking policy, and I will block you if you continue to ignore concerns on articles. You must learn there are other people on this wiki, and you are not calling the shots here - everyone does. --MrMiscellanious (talk) – 20:47, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
  • If you are so "sick of it" then you're welcome to stop engaging in WikiNews - you'd do the site a big favor by stopping your malicious attempts to either censor or obsolte articles which do not make Bush look good. Personally, i think you should have been banned for your disruptive behaviour long ago. -- 01:53, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
How mature. --MrMiscellanious (talk) – 04:24, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Wasted my time wading through another groundless dispute. The "objections" exemplified with the quotes above can only be raised if one refuses to read the article in context and has very poor understanding of the science behind sampling and polling. To address the second concern the article gives a short explanation of polling and uncertencies in the beginning paragraph and links to wikipedia for more in-depth information. The assertion that someone could mistake the quotes highlighted on the talk page to refer to anything put the polling data is simply ridiculous. I will remove the tag. --vonbergm 02:10, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

I support removal of the tag. (I'm sure no one here will be surprised by that.) MrMiscellanious, I think your claims have been acknowledged very fully here. You have tagged the article five times, but have responded to repeated queries about your reasons on the talk page only once, and that was very late in the debate. I think you are in a very poor position to accuse someone else of disruption. -- Avenue 02:47, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
You have not addressed any of my complaints. This article will remain in development until you do. --MrMiscellanious (talk) – 04:23, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
MrM, as it stands you have made 1 single comment on this talk page that addressed the article. I will outline how they have been addressed one by one.
By your statement "polls are never facts" you probably meant that the results of polling data only reflect the countrywide opinion with a certain accuracy and probability. This is correct and outlined as a note of caution in the introduction of the article.
You assert that the sections you quoted "assert" that polles are facts. Again you probably mean to say that the statements assert that the poll data accurately reflects american sentiment. As several people, including myself, have argued, (and you seem to agree as you do have not refuted these arguments), is is quite ridiculous to assume that any reader will infer this from the statements in the context that they are given in. Moreover, the second quote you gave "When asked why President Bush went to war, 21% said it was to protect the United States" is quite explicit that the number only referes to the people polled.
This leaves the last objection, namely your opinion that "Polls should be mentioned in articles, not be their own articles." This can hardly justify the tag, but might be worth a discussion on the policy pages if this is important to you.
These are the only concerns of yours currently present. As all were in fact (repeatedly) addressed on the talk page, I will proceed to remove your tag. If you have problems with the arguments presented on the talk page, then participate in the discussion here. Taging without discussion is disruptive. --vonbergm 05:20, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

I've stated my objections many times. The more you individuals ignore them, the longer this article will stay tagged. --MrMiscellanious (talk) – 20:32, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

MrM, please make and effort to be constructive and point out which of your complaints was not addressed as nobody else on this talk page seems to be able to figure it out. As your complaints of this article at this stage is limited to a single post of yours, it should not be too difficult for you to explain what part of this post was not addressed in this discussion. --vonbergm 21:07, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
Don't make me repeat myself. Read up. --MrMiscellanious (talk) – 21:11, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
I see tag was removed; so congrats to all who worked on this. Nobody moved to publish so I just did it. Neutralizer 23:04, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
MrM has moved it back to develop, with this edit summary: "Concerns not addressed. Back to development until they are." MrM, what are your concerns?? I can't see any we have not discussed. There seems to be consensus here that the concerns you raised have been addressed, which you refuse to accept. Please explain why. -- Avenue 02:21, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
Note that I don't agree that MrM's concerns have been addressed, only that there have been attempts to address them. These attempts show a willingness to engage with MrM and attempt to collaborate. MrM should show other editors the same courtesy. - Borofkin 02:28, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
My concerns have not even been acknowledged. That would require actual looking at them, and not dismissing them just because I brought them up (it's became a quite obvious trend). I'm not going to beg, but I will delay, if users wish to continue to ignore my concerns. They're quite clear. --MrMiscellanious (talk) – 02:51, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
I've looked at all of your edits to the article, and read all of your contributions to the talk page, and I can't say that I really understand what your concerns are. Compare your participation on this talk page with this edit from Amgine. Amgine has quoted from the article and provided a detailed explanation of the problem, in a way that doesn't assume everyone will see things the way he does, and doesn't insult other contributors. By comparison, your first significant contribution to this talk page begins "That's absurd for you to make those assertions," which would have immediately irritated people. Do you see the difference? - Borofkin 03:08, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
To clarify my last comment above, by "addressed" I meant addressed in good faith here on the talk page, and that changes were made to the article when ones that were acceptable to all parties could be identified. I did not mean that all of MrM's desires were understood, or that those that could be understood were followed when there was no consensus to do so. -- Avenue 07:13, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Review of conflictEdit

I've had a look, and I agree with vonbergm's claim that considerable work has been done since Mrmiscellanious last participated on the talk page. The edits made in the past 24 hours appear to be good-faith attempts to address Mrmiscellanious' concerns. Mrmiscellanious appears to be refusing to participate in discussion, or acknowledge the work that others have done attempting to address his concerns. His actions may be in violation of Wikinews:Etiquette, specifically "Amend, edit, discuss.", "Work toward agreement", and "Give praise when due." Mrmiscellanious, I think you should make more of an effort to engage with the other editors here on the talk page, and at least acknowledge and comment on the efforts that they have made so far. - Borofkin 02:06, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

  • And since you voiced your opinions, I think you should spend less time preaching about all my misdeeds. Furthermore, if users aren't going to listen to other's concerns, then you're going to have to answer this question: why the hell are we here on this site? Wiki doesn't mean majority goes. It means everyone has a chance - and no one has even given my proposal a chance. That's all of your faults if you don't want to. But don't you dare come back here and accuse me of anything. --MrMiscellanious (talk) – 02:25, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
Mrm, you haven't even given your own proposal a chance. Besides a tag, what effort have you made to improve this article? Don't you agree it is important news? And if you don't think a poll is news, then I believe that is acting against the community interest. -Edbrown05 03:02, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
How is a poll news? In this case I do not see it as news. It IMO does not stand the policy of NPOV as the outcome of the poll(s) represents one side. Jason Safoutin 03:05, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
A teacher/professor of accounting I was forced to listen to liked to remark: "Figures never lie, but liers figure." Where is this story lying? -Edbrown05 03:11, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
Where did I say anyone was "lying". Jason Safoutin 03:14, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
Okay, where in your opinion does the story not stand the test of Neutral Point of View? -Edbrown05 03:21, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
Here's a little story, which I know that many of a cynical nature may wish to undermine. I spoke over the phone with my mother two days ago. After the agenda business of our conversation was complete, it turned to chat. The first thing out of her mouth was, "Bush isn't doing so good." The comment was meant in the context of news she heard two days ago concerning poll results. I told her, "I know, I was working on a that story for Wikinews," and told her a few poll results more than she knew from a brief brush with the issue. And here we are. -Edbrown05 03:53, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
Which is to say, that myself an other contributors are trying to be real here. And make a contribution to the news. Tagging could be seen as lazy. Particularly when the tagger or complainer are not working to improve the story. -Edbrown05 04:11, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
The one-sidedness of the results is exactly why this poll is news. If this poll had given the same results as the last ten polls, it wouldn't rate much interest. It is because Bush's approval ratings are going down, and the public's perception of the war is reported as increasingly negative, that this is news.
But it is important to realise that although the results are one-sided, this poll (like most) purports to be a neutral measure of public opinion. If criticisms of the poll itself have been reported, I think we should cover these too. But these criticisms would need to be from a reputable source to be NPOV, unless they can be balanced with praises from someone else. Another NPOV option would be to find an neutral source of guidelines for good poll practice, and critique this poll against that.
I also feel strongly that people claiming the article is not NPOV need to be willing to contribute constructively for their views to be taken seriously, and not be viewed as merely disruptive. -- Avenue 06:59, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
Its not as if those who participated in the poll had a gun at their head to force them to give the desired answer - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 07:20, 23 March 2006 (UTC)


{{edit protected}} Please add this article to Category:USA Today and update the wikilink to become local. Thank you. Green Giant (talk) 16:47, 4 October 2015 (UTC)

  Done --Pi zero (talk) 01:40, 5 October 2015 (UTC)

{{edit protected}} Please add this article to Category:CBS News, and localize the link of the same name as well as the links for "Iraq War", "George W. Bush", "George H. W. Bush" and "Saddam Hussein". Thank you. Green Giant (talk) 09:32, 7 October 2015 (UTC)

Added cats and {{w}}-ized. --Pi zero (talk) 20:53, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
Return to "Polling data on President Bush's approval rating indicates recent decline" page.