You would think that something calling itself a library would have more respect for social science than this.
A press release from the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum just reported that a straw poll taken among visitors shows that likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney leads President Obama by a whopping 62 percent to 30.5 percent. Another 7 percent say they prefer a third party. According to the library staff, this shows a surging Romney who increased his lead since the last release of numbers.
The people who take part in the “poll” are those who visit the museum honoring the Republican president George H.W. Bush. Weird then, that two-thirds would identify with the Republican candidates.
In the release, the library acknowledges that it has no meaning or substance at all.
“The poll is not scientific and does not represent an endorsement of any particular candidate or party by the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum or the National Archives and Records Administration. The straw poll is meant to encourage greater voter participation, an important part of the Bush Library and Museum’s mission to promote civic literacy and education.”
A real poll does not allow participants to self-select. It attempts to collect a random sample of voters to control for any bias. And most real polls have the race between Romney and Obama as very close – within a few percentage points.