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Why I’m Sure the Pew Research Poll re: TPP Approval in the US is a Fraudulent POS

metamars's picture

I was intending to write about my "poll" of Princeton, NJ residents that I conducted yesterday, under a decidedly different title, but when I got home, last night, stumbled across the following:

According to another Pew Research poll, more than half the American public thinks both TPP and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), an Obama administration trade and investment initiative with the European Union, would be good for the country.

Well! Mr Pew-noccio, I have a bone to pick with you!

But first, let’s set the stage. Let’s go back, back in time... to yesterday morning. It’s confirmed that I can’t borrow my brother’s video camera, because he doesn’t have one. He uses a cell phone for video. Hence, I go to my plan B, which is to use the video capability of my 2-month-old tablet (an "unbranded", from BestBuy). I don’t really use the tablet much, and had never used the video. So, after learning to take a test video, it’s off to Princeton, to ask of the more-likely-educated Princetonians the question: “Do you know what the TPP is?” or “Do you know what the Trans-Pacific-Partnership is?” or “Do you know what the TPP, or Trans Pacific Partnership, is?” or "Have you ever heard of the TPP?" or "Have you ever heard of the Trans-Pacific-Partnership?" or "Have you ever heard of the TPP, or Trans-Pacific Partnership?" (Yeah, I know, I should have asked the question consistently.)

I had conducted a mini-survey about the question, in Princeton, over a year ago. Nobody (of the 8 people I had asked) knew what TPP was, and I assumed that most would still not know. As I have blogged previously, the public outreach of anti-TPP memes to the public is evidently anemic, to the point of being invisible in NJ, where I live. This represents a massive #FAIL, on the part of activists, who may have done a stellar job in assembling an anti-TPP coalition, but are thus even more reprehensibly guilty of bungling the public outreach part of a serious anti-TPP campaign.

Alas, I arrived in Princeton late, and had a 7:00 open source/open government meetup* to attend, and so ended up with a 2-hour window to catalog whatever the state of anti-TPP awareness was in Princeton. After about an hour, I ducked into Starbucks to view the video.

Well, I wasn’t exactly horrified, as my confidence level with Windows 8 is minimal, but apparently the video shut off automatically when the screen saver flipped on, which was apparently all of 10 minutes. Not exactly the default behavior I would have picked, Bill Gates – thanks for nothing!

I then tried to fiddle with the settings, but just sort of gave up at 6:40 pm. I’ll try to post the video later on, today, when I’m home. Because it only lasts a short while ( I think it shows only 5 people), about all it proves is that I was in Princeton, yesterday, asking a question that, to me, is the sort of thing that obviously should have been seriously polled for the by anti-TPP so-called ‘activists’.

Well, the video is consistent with what I’ll have to repeat out from memory (and an approximating memory, at that): Out of about 30 people I questioned, only about 6 knew what TPP was. One (who obviously knew a great deal about it) was a Princeton student who was majoring in international affairs (or something similar). Another was a guy who explained that he was involved with Electronic Frontier Foundation. Both of these two guys are exactly the kind of individuals one expects to find, in far greater proportion, in an elite university town, like Princeton.

Princeton, thus, provides sort of an expected upper bound to anti-TPP awareness. While I clearly didn’t provide solid statistical proof of anything, my expectation is that TPP awareness (never mind anti-TPP awareness) in Princeton is something like 20%, and overall (at least in NJ) is actually more like 4/30 = 13%.

Assuming my expectation is valid, this is a complete and utter disgrace, given that TPP details were leaked well over a year ago. In spite of their good intentions, the anti-TPP "activists" should be ashamed of their poor performance. Yours truly has extremely limited resources, and reflects a "force" of exactly one person. The anti-TPP "activists", collectively, span organizations with literally millions of members at their disposal, who could at least have inquired, via polling (unscientific polling, like mine, if that's all they could afford) what the public even know about the issue. Thus, they could have gauged the effectiveness of their public outreach efforts (such as they were).

So, that would have been the end of the diary, except for discovering the Pew-noccio POS "poll". In case anybody is math challenged, it’s quite impossible to be for or against something that you've never heard of. Pew would have us believe that most Americans are for TPP, but the overwhelming majority of Americans never heard of TPP (says metamars! Grrr!).

Conclusion #1: You're being played by at least some of the so-called "activists" – I refuse to accept that they're all so naïve and strategically inept.

Conclusion #2: Pew is lying through its teeth – somehow or other, it works for the 1% of the 1% that want the tpp/economic treason/POS.

* A Code for America “brigade” is forming in Princeton

References: From space, nobody can hear your upcoming AFL-CIO anti-TPP Screams (all 4 of them)

Kevin Zeese Optimistic About Stopping TPP Fast Track, but Shouldn't Be

UPDATE Belmar Poll video:

UPDATE Princeton poll video:

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metamars's picture
Submitted by metamars on

I'm in the process of uploading the first of 2 youtube videos. It's a very slow process, and will take at least another 2 hours.

I've reviewed both the Princeton video, I shot yesterday, and the one I shot today in Belmar, NJ. In the Princeton video, only 1 of 6 people knew of TPP (and she was a foreigner...). As mentioned in the diary, most of the video I thought I was shooting is not there.

In the Belmar video, I counted 12 responses, and only 2 knew anything about TPP. (The last guy I asked said that he had heard about TPP, but didn't know what it was, so I just ignored his data point.) This gives 17%, about a bill which was known about over a year ago, and can now be voted on wrt Fast Track Authorization.

Pathetic, just pathetic.

Submitted by lambert on

I'm fixing those all caps. They're hard to read, and I want to link to this.

I also added the YouTubes, so people can play them without leaving the site, and did some light copy editing.

I love the concept of checking the pollsters. It's like streaming vs. network/cable TV.

UPDATE I banged the text of the meetup note at (*). Sorry!

UPDATE While I was at it, I added TPP and POS to the Lexicon, so they get little pop-ups. Revise in comments.

Submitted by lambert on

Please replace your note, though; I left the asterisk in place.

metamars's picture
Submitted by metamars on

OK, did that. BTW, after the Code for America / Yack Night event, where there was a lot of positive energy, I went to a panel discussion on campus, sponsored by a Princeton "Effective Altruism" group. Apparently, these have their genesis in a philosophy by Princeton University professor Peter Singer.

There was even more positive energy in air, and a larger crowd. This coexisted quite comfortably with a very pragmatic (the "Effective" in "Effective Altruism", no doubt), running cost/benefit view towards various actions proposed or even asked for at the meeting.

Although activists can also have lots of positive energy, and/or civically motivated stuborness (generally a good thing), their tendency not to be accountable to their avowed purposes, with the same tenaciousness as entrepreneurs are to theirs, does not serve them well. The activists need to import some energy and discipline from the likes of "effective altruists".

Maybe me and the Peter Singer guy (who I never heard of before yesterday) should have a talk. :-)

V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on

This is precisely why I continually bang on about the provincial ignorance of the average U.S. citizen. And it scares the holy begesus out of me; and I don't even live in the U.S. anymore.
But, I'm still on an umbilical cord and have family there, who just refuse to even think about leaving.
Thanks for the post.