Monday, November 22, 2010

Poll: 81% of Americans Support Use of Full Body Scanners

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Wonder if 81% of these people would agree?

According to an AP story, which I would link to if it wasn't the AP, CBS conducted a poll in early November, which found that 81 percent of Americans support TSA using full-body scanners at airports. Not surprisingly, TSA touts this poll on their TSA blog.

The population of the US, as of July 2009, was 307,006,550. For the math impaired, 81% would be around 248 million people. Obviously, they used a sample, or they'd still be asking the questions. So that leaves about 58 million of us malcontents or skeptics who believe there must be a better way or haven't made up their minds.

The pertinent data that I believe is missing from the poll would be what percentage of those people who are frequent fliers support them? Infrequent fliers? Non-fliers?

It may be that a large percentage of the people in that 81% seldom, if ever, fly. I'd be curious to know what percentage of people may have supported the use of the scanners, knowing it would not affect them personally?

H/T Pat Dollard

Cross posted at LCR, Say Anything.


  1. "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics." - Mark Twain via either Disraeli or Leonard H. Courtney or someone else.

    I wonder who exactly the sample was comprised of?

    I used to work in market Research, it's not hard to get a survey to show the results that you WANT it to show; you can manipulate who is selected for the sample, you can phrase questions in a way that forces respondents to choose the desired answer ("Would you rather go through a painless scanner or get blown up by terrorists?" is likely to get even people who would refuse the scan if they new the full details of it to chose option 1.), and there are other tactics used too, such as using the mean, mode, median averages to tailor the data compiled to back up the point you want to make with it.

    I worked both in commercial market research and political surveying, it's amazing the kinds of leading questions that are asked.

  2. Zilla: One of my favorite Twain quotes!
    Yeah. This "poll" is about as lame as it can get. Without mentioning what's in it, the TSA is touting it as if it were meaningful. It's not.


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