A Bad Poll, Like a Blind Hog, Finds Some Acorns

By Steve Haner

The myth of the climate catastrophe is an easier sell to younger people with their shorter memories. A recent poll of Virginia adults 18 and up showed a marked difference of opinion based on age, with older voters less likely to claim they had personal experience of “impacts from climate change.”

The poll was a recent one conducted by the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Wilder School of Government and Public Policy, released in two parts. The first part dealt with election matchups and the second with issues, frankly using some ridiculous questions. They were not so much biased as just worthless. Other examples will follow but here is the climate issue question:

Have you or others in your household experienced impacts from climate change, such as coping with extreme heat, sea level rise, recurrent flooding, or stronger and more frequent storms, including any resulting property damage or increased household cost?

A second question asked the same 804 respondents their level of concern about future “impacts.” But asked about direct experience, 38% said yes, they have “experienced” that and 58% said no, with only a handful saying they had no opinion or couldn’t say.

The first problem with the question itself, of course, is its assumption that “extreme heat, sea level rise, recurrent flooding, or stronger  … storms” are even caused by what the media trumpets as “climate change.” And the media, all forms, trumpet it almost daily, with this poll conducted during the height of a media hysteria storm about a warmer-than-average July. (“Hottest in the history of the world….”)

Despite decades of such media hype, barely more than one-third of Virginians believe they personally have seen the signs. We’ve all certainly lived through the same heat spells and our share of very bad storms. The question really was, “please confirm that our relentless propaganda has persuaded you that all bad weather is caused by climate change.” It is quite encouraging how many said no.

And the skeptical percentage grew with age and experience, as revealed in the polling crosstabs. The most vulnerable to the propaganda were the 25-34 age cohort, 57% of whom agreed with the statement. The 45-54 age cohort were the most skeptical, with only 28% claiming they had experienced bad weather caused by climate change. Of those 55 and up, about a third agreed with the statement and two-thirds did not.  They know the weather we see today is nothing new.

The good news for the propaganda movement is that when the question was about concern over the future, the numbers rose, with far more expressing those concerns (68%) than on the first question and with the age gap also shrinking. But again, the question was really testing the effectiveness of the climate catastrophe narrative.

Here is the dumbest question in the poll:

The K-12 standards for student learning and achievement in the area of history are required to be reviewed by the State Board of Education every seven years. Recently, the Board of Education approved the new standards put forth by Governor Youngkin’s Board of Education. Do you approve or disapprove of the new history standards?

Hands up if you think even one of the 804 people polled has ever seen any state curriculum standard, let alone this particular new standard for history. Again, this question was really about something else. Has political rhetoric attacking these standards, or similar standards around the nation, sunk in with you? Throwing in Governor Glenn Youngkin’s name also created cross-pressures on respondents, which the poll drafter fully understood.

The poll question that generated the most news coverage, however, was the standard either-or approach taken on tax cuts versus government spending. The Virginia General Assembly remains stalemated over what do with a substantial unappropriated cash surplus, with Republicans pushing for the inclusion of some permanent tax relief as part of the response.

Here is the question:

Governor Youngkin proposed using about $1 billion of Virginia’s budget surplus toward tax relief for Virginians. Virginia Democrats in the State Senate would prefer to use it for building or repairing schools or other similar projects. Which option do you prefer?

Is there actually $1 billion more in the proposed Senate budget for “repairing schools or other similar projects?” Why, no, the Senate is pushing for additional spending in several categories across several functions of government, and (a more important omission) the Senate has also supported its own version of tax relief. The question also fails to note that Youngkin is proposing to use only $1 billion out of the $3-5 billion available for tax relief, and also supports more spending. It is not either-or.

Do you think including that context might have created a different response, again dealing with average Virginians with little or no direct knowledge on the subject? Of course the question was written to produce a specific answer and focusing on schools (always popular) was the giveaway. Again, it is encouraging that 43% still put tax relief first despite the question’s headwind.

What a shock that a poll conducted by a tax-supported school would find that voters wanted to spend more taxes on schools. That was hardly headline news, but of course we don’t have an independent news media anymore.

The most interesting result in the issue survey was the first question, an open- ended question on “the most important issue facing Virginia today.” With no prompting, more than a third named inflation and the rising cost of living. The runners up were education (18%), abortion (13%) and gun control (12%).

Among those naming abortion or gun control as the top issue, people on both sides of the issues have to be included among those who put them as their top concern. It provided zero insight on how many voters feel which way on either. So, while interesting, the question was useless. The issue portion of the poll itself was largely useless, except as one more example of how the tool is often wielded badly.


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51 responses to “A Bad Poll, Like a Blind Hog, Finds Some Acorns”

  1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
    Eric the half a troll

    “The 45-54 age cohort were the most skeptical, with only 28% claiming they had experienced bad weather caused by climate change. Of those 55 and up, about a third agreed with the statement and two-thirds did not. They know the weather we see today is nothing new.”

    This seems interesting that the oldest group shift back toward the average response. If your premise is to be believed (those who have seen the most weather know the climate is not really changing) it should have gone the other way. They would, after all, have the most experience to apply. They, however, may remember weather patterns that seem to have disappeared in recent years (think snow) and so have concluded that the scientists may actually be on to something.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar
      LarrytheG

      “…..and so have concluded that the scientists may actually be on to something.”

      that’s money question. Do people believe the science that comes from the vast majority of scientists?

      If you don’t believe what science is saying from the top, then the rest of the poll is more or less pre-ordained…… no?

      1. Stephen Haner Avatar
        Stephen Haner

        The “science,” the IPCC reports and other data, are very clear that there is zero, nil, nada pattern whatsoever of storms getting worse or more frequent. This is one huge media click bait hoax.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar
          LarrytheG

          the science is pretty clear actually in terms of climate. The linkage between climate and weather is much more problematical but things like the current temperatures in the ocean, or the calamity in Hawaii are facts even if we don’t know with certainty of the connection. It’s worrisome things around the globe all happening that used to be rare one-off things over the years.. not one after another in one year. STILL, there is no direct provable connection and the media always goes there.

          1. Randy Huffman Avatar
            Randy Huffman

            If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

            I read an article about hurricane Hazel that hit Oak Island in 1954, it was an interview of a couple who survived it, there were only a handful of people on the island then. When the next cat 4 hits, people will incorrectly blame global warming.

          2. Randy Huffman Avatar
            Randy Huffman

            If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

            I read an article about hurricane Hazel that hit Oak Island in 1954, it was an interview of a couple who survived it, there were only a handful of people on the island then. When the next cat 4 hits, people will incorrectly blame global warming.

    2. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      Then again, they are the cohort that walked to school uphill both ways. They are also susceptible to dementia.

      And barbed wire is not ecologically damaging.

      1. Lefty665 Avatar

        in the snow with newspapers wrapped around our otherwise bare feet. Have you no empathy for our suffering compared to the coddled whippersnappers of today? Who are you and why are we having this conversation…zzzz. nap time.

        But barbed wire keeps the horses in the field.

  2. Polling as propaganda. Good take-down.

  3. f/k/a_tmtfairfax Avatar
    f/k/a_tmtfairfax

    If my dad were here today, he’d surely contest claims about this being the hottest summer ever by recounting his many stories about the Summer of 1936, which followed one of the coldest winters ever.

  4. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    What’s different between 1970 and now? Instrumentation. We’re measuring like mad.

    Look at your kitchen doorframe. Those penciled marks really do say the kid has grown.

    1. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      And all the temperature data shows at most tiny changes over a century, a century, 1-2C if that much. The data don’t back the media nonsense. The media hysteria about July being the hottest ever is all the proof you need these folks are knowingly lying, because they know the reliable data go back maybe, maybe 50 years. Larry and others just absorb it on faith.

    2. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      And all the temperature data shows at most tiny changes over a century, a century, 1-2C if that much. The data don’t back the media nonsense. The media hysteria about July being the hottest ever is all the proof you need these folks are knowingly lying, because they know the reliable data go back maybe, maybe 50 years. Larry and others just absorb it on faith.

      1. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive

        Well, there is a basic rule in flying — Trust your instruments. You don’t have to believe the models and predictions, but the measurements are all you’ve got. Measurements are trending up. Records are being set and not just point but averages. The one undeniable fact is the Earth’s albedo is changing, for whatever reason, and we could be up the creek. Time to buy a summer home in Nome.

        For me, if it doesn’t involve oil then it’s better PERIOD. The efforts to convert the energy about us to a useful form is great. Save as much oil as possible for emergencies. I know you guys laugh at solar, but we are pushing 30% efficiency and 200W per gram of substrate. If you had said that as little as 10 years ago, you’d have been put in a rubber room.

        1. Stephen Haner Avatar
          Stephen Haner

          “The earth’s albedo is changing.” I read in this field all the time and, really? That’s a new one on me. As to solar power, it is ALL solar power, or stored solar power. Even uranium.

          1. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            Photovoltaic. Sheesh. Except, even if there were no Sun (solar), the Earth emits too.

            -1.5% per decade in the arctic since 1980. It’s getting dark. Places to start are the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) and Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES). These were satellite systems launched in the 80s and 90s, respectively.

          2. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            Photovoltaic. Sheesh. Except, even if there were no Sun (solar), the Earth emits too.

            -1.5% per decade in the arctic since 1980. It’s getting dark. Places to start are the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) and Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES). These were satellite systems launched in the 80s and 90s, respectively.

        2. Lefty665 Avatar

          I too love solar, and the continuing improvements in efficiency are amazing.

          It’s the intermittent nature of its generation and the huge costs for battery storage and transmission when mandated to replace 24/7 generation and compact storage of hydrocarbons that give me pause.

          I keep thinking that the huge rotating mass of the moon causes tides, certainly some bright boy/girl ought to figure out how to harness it as a generator.

          1. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            Well, first wind in with copper wire…

            I’m less skeptical than you on batteries. For 100 years, lead-acid was good enough. I doubt that R&D in batteries was a hot ticket career move. Now? I’m willing to believe that the best and brightest are looking at it. Won’t take long. Then there’s fuel cells.

            The metals issue is a nit. Once they get it, it’s infinitely recyclable. If we wanted to right now, then we wouldn’t have to mine iron ore or bauxite ever again. We sadly dump steel and aluminum at shameful rates.

          2. Lefty665 Avatar

            Lots of wire, and it would take a lot of magnets too.:) Until some bright kid figures out how to harness gravity in motion to generate directly.

            Yeah, but… a nit in the long run, but the calculations on the amount of mining, waste and pollution in the short run to go electric in the next decade or so as mandated are horrendous. We’d be better off sticking with hydrocarbons until the storage problem gets solved, and use the massive money to solve storage instead, then watch as electrification happens naturally.

            Energy density in batteries already scares me. Making them more energy dense without making things very hot when they leak will be a bigger challenge as we get more, bigger and more efficient batteries.

            A commenter here at BR recently observed that our current lithium batteries are uniquely vulnerable to developing internal resistance and combusting.

          3. This aspect should prove interesting in the development of wave energy: “Applicants are required to describe how diversity, equity, and inclusion objectives will be incorporated in the project. Specifically, applicants are required to submit a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan that describes the actions the applicant will take to foster a welcoming and inclusive environment, support people from underrepresented groups in STEM, advance equity, and encourage the inclusion of individuals from these groups in the project; and indicate how the extent the project activities will be located in or benefit underserved communities.”

          4. Lefty665 Avatar

            If we could just harness the perpetual motion required by DIE there would be infinite energy for everything else.

          5. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            Yes, clearly we want research that is performed by teams that are uniform, non-equitable and exclusive.

          6. Lefty665 Avatar

            Worthwhile, but the problem with wave motion is that like with the wind that generates most of it, it is intermittent. Same with tidal, the water flow through an inlet can be massive and regular with tides, but like wind and solar, there are slack periods every time the tide changes.

            What I dream of is directly harnessing the energy from that big old moon swinging around the earth. It would generate 24/7 for billions of years. Not quite Einstein’s little girl riding the moonbeam, but dang it the Moon’s gravity moves massive amounts of water all over the world. Surely we’re bright enough to harness that same gravity in motion to generate electricity.

      2. LarrytheG Avatar
        LarrytheG

        I do believe the science, take the media with a grain of salt as always especially when it tried to link weather with climate and essentially provides perfect strawmans!

        1. William O'Keefe Avatar
          William O’Keefe

          Larry, you have to define what you mean by “the science.” The IPCC is not immune from distorting what science actually says and with what certainty. The Policy Makers Summary is recognized as more a political statement than one of science.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            The “science” for me, is the vast majority of scientists, beyond even the IPCC.. to include NASA and NOA and other scientists around the world. No different than I would with other areas of science like Oceanography or plate tectonics or cancer , etc… I don’t think science is infallible… it’s an evolving body of science, where, as time goes by and we learn more, we calibrate accordingly. What science thinks today is better than science thought 100 yrs ago…. we improve on it as we go. We don’t believe that suddenly science has gone badly wrong – around the world.

          2. William O'Keefe Avatar
            William O’Keefe

            That is a rambling response. Try being a little more precise. You could start with the work of scientists that has been independently replicated. Take into account that, for example, the “science” on the origin of covid is being regularly called into question and disproven.

          3. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            It’s actually pretty simple. I believe the scientific community on the issue – the same community that I also believe on other earth issues. I don’t see one segment of science as conspiracy and others not.

            This is the poll that shows some realities IMO:

            And as you point out, Conservatives also question other science like Covid but as far as I can tell, they don’t disbelieve things like genetics, cancer, and other…

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/57516731b544b1ab16665f64f37092fcfa6aa4d548ed863b682c71d3432af7bd.jpg

          4. William O'Keefe Avatar
            William O’Keefe

            I suggest that you read Anthony Fauci’s Deceptions by David Zweig.
            Your claim that you believe the scientific community shows that you have no idea what you are talking about.

          5. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            Pretty sure I do. It’s not just Fauci …. it’s many, many others in the same field that say the same thing. I don’t really put much stock in people who go after other people personally.

            How in the world does one guy say something and it’s taken as what everyone in that field is saying?

            So you make the claim that I have no idea what I’m talking about. I might think the same about you?

            And this sort of reinforces the point about disbelief in Climate science and disbelief in COVID science… where does it end? What determines which science is legitimate and which not?

            I just never thought that certain fields of science that involved many scientists around the world that they were engaged in a conspiracy to fool everyone about that field of science.

            Why is it important where COVID came from to start with… we have lots and lots of terrible infectious diseases that start in many places around the world. Right?

          6. William O'Keefe Avatar
            William O’Keefe

            You are the one who claims to believe the scientific community, although when it comes to the origin of covid you engage in diversion.
            Your responses are incoherent!

          7. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            I believe in what the larger scientific community says about covid and it’s origins, not one guy.
            that seems pretty straight forward.

          8. William O'Keefe Avatar
            William O’Keefe

            Obviously you have not stayed abreast of the origin controversy, especially that surrounding the “Proximal Origin” paper. I don’t know what it means or what you mean when you say “the larger scientific community. When did it last speak to you?

  5. “I just never thought that certain fields of science that involved many scientists around the world that they were engaged in a conspiracy to fool everyone about that field of science….Why is it important where COVID came from to start with…” LarrytheG
    It’s important to not repeat actions that lead to consequences like the pandemic.

    In 2018, The Lancetwrote about the end of the ban on gain of function studies. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(18)30006-9/fulltext

    “On Dec 19, 2017, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that they would resume funding gain-of-function experiments involving influenza, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus. A moratorium had been in place since October, 2014.”

    In 2021, The New York Post wrote: “NIH admits US funded gain-of-function in Wuhan — despite Fauci’s denials.” “NIH’s principal deputy director, Lawrence A. Tabak, wrote in the letter that EcoHealth’s “limited experiment” tested whether “spike proteins
    from naturally occurring bat coronaviruses circulating in China were capable of binding to the human ACE2 receptor in a mouse model.

    “The admission from the NIH official directly contradicts Fauci’s testimony to Congress in May and July, when he denied the US had funded gain-of-function projects in Wuhan.”

    https://nypost.com/2021/10/21/nih-admits-us-funded-gain-of-function-in-wuhan-despite-faucis-repeated-denials/

    1. LarrytheG Avatar
      LarrytheG

      So the larger science said something different than Fauci? And other investigations since then by different organizations have concluded what?

      Do we have consensus from the various folks who have investigated as to what the truth is?

      I care not one whit what one guy said on one testimony…. I care what the bulk of the others involved have concluded.

      The thing with Fauci borders on a Conspiracy THeory in my view. Could he by himself done what others claim he did? I seriously doubt it.

      And why in the world is “gain of function” really important one way or the other in terms of the overall science of COVID and how it was handled?

      And how is this connected to climate science and this thread?

      1. The connection is two-fold: you brought it into the discussion and because some scientists endorse a political position doesn’t make a statement true.
        Fauci didn’t do it himself…he was deceptive about the facts. Gain of function was the most likely cause of the pandemic…because there were no initial clusters of outbreaks and no intermediate host between the virus and humans.
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10234839/ NIH paid for the GOF studies!

        1. LarrytheG Avatar
          LarrytheG

          I asked why it seemed like those thing Climate is a conspiracy theory also seem to think COVID was

          But the gain of function was never proven conclusively. There is no agreement among the agencies that investigated.

          Even if you could prove it conclusively, what difference does it make? There are deadly infectious disease of various origins,from all over the world, that we depend on National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and other govt agencies to deal with.

          If we accuse them of wrongdoing, do we not trust them to do these other diseases?

          Why is it so important to “prove” that GIF was true or not in the first place?

          It’s not like we can stop China from doing such things … or any other country….

          And we have ongpoimg diseases like Ebola, Zita , Monkey VIrus, etc that the same agencies that are accused of wrong doing have to deal with. do we not trust them to do that?

          Do we want to hinder National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and related in their missions?

          1. Why? The NIH proved it themselves. Point blank: No, the US should not fund these projects.
            I know I’m back to the teaching a pig to sing model–frustrates you and annoys the pig –as in opening Larry’s mind to a different POV.
            /End of thread

          2. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            Nope. does not frustrate me cuz its simply not the truth anyhow Many govt agencies investigated and could not find conclusive proof. That’s the clear truth if you read ALL of the reports provided and not just some. And when you discuss me personally are you insulting me? I just dont see any of it as a conspiracy of govt officials to mislead the public and I have no idea how that kind of thinking is related to climate science conspiracies. I

          3. Discussing someone’s opinions , attitudes, etc, is permitted. Insulting them or calling them names is is not.

          4. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            “I know I’m back to the teaching a pig to sing model–frustrates you and annoys the pig –as in opening Larry’s mind to a different POV.”

    2. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      On the first part: there are bio labs operating all over the world. There are procedures to prevent accidental exposures as perfect as we can get them. You’re correct that it’s important to determine if and how accidental releases occur to improve, but odds are astronomically in favor of natural transmission.

      It’s the assumption that Fauci knowingly misled Congress about Wuhan that’s a stretch. But, clearly somewhere in the information chain about funding gain-of-function there was a failure.

      What’s the chestnut? “Never attribute to malice what can easily be explained by incompetence,” or words to that effect.

      FWIW, self-deprecating statements do not constitute an ad hominem. I was speaking of myself in my comment about being a moderator.

    3. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      On the first part: there are bio labs operating all over the world. There are procedures to prevent accidental exposures as perfect as we can get them. You’re correct that it’s important to determine if and how accidental releases occur to improve, but odds are astronomically in favor of natural transmission.

      It’s the assumption that Fauci knowingly misled Congress about Wuhan that’s a stretch. But, clearly somewhere in the information chain about funding gain-of-function there was a failure.

      What’s the chestnut? “Never attribute to malice what can easily be explained by incompetence,” or words to that effect.

      FWIW, self-deprecating statements do not constitute an ad hominem. I was speaking of myself in my comment about being a moderator.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar
        LarrytheG

        Yes. Gain of Function from what I read is a legitimate function for public health organizations with the caveat that you don’t want the stuff to get loose.

        I think there may well be ignorance and misunderstanding involved in the core issue but beyond that…as you point out, there are some who “believe” and the actual facts do not really support what they believe:

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9388fe3439ce1413cb447ea54a11e713556d67080de1beff0c4afbdf0db95a56.jpg

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/60e24299fdf867c4ed76af8ec7920491a81545c39725d73c5abd905ad63cc3cd.jpg

        So this thing persists years later in the minds of some on the right and to the point where it gets cited in conjunction with Global Warming.

        It makes no sense except it seems to be a conspiracy theory.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/10/29/repeated-claim-that-fauci-lied-congress-about-gain-of-function-research/

        and in the following phrase:

        ” “I know I’m back to the teaching a pig to sing model–frustrates you and annoys the pig –as in opening Larry’s mind to a different POV.”

        If I switched out Larry to be Carol…. it would be what?

        1. Nancy Naive Avatar
          Nancy Naive

          Not self-deprecating.

          Well, since WWII we have enabled mankind with suicidal extinction. Seems that “gain of function” is as worthy an endeavor as purifying any radioactive materials for either energy production or annihilation, or the development of nerve agents for the latter.

          NBC is a fact of life, and developing countermeasures is always a good plan.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            if one thinks about it… gain-of-function develops pretty important data that then will benefit the path forward to dealing with some vector or variant. I just don’t see it as evil or wrong… the opposite.

          2. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            Nature is an adversary in the game of biological warfare.

            To some, the pursuit of (new) knowledge is evil. Remember, it was the “forbidden fruit”.

            “All that is worth knowing is known.” Or, will be reveal by my divine messenger, e.g., “I am your retribution.”

            Keep that in mind even if it involves historical personages like, oh say, Thomas Jefferson.

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