Article by George Nelson of the Youngstown Business Journal
The article is the result of a poll of Ohio voters conducted by the Center for Marketing and Opinion Research at the request of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics of the University of Akron. According to the pie chart there appears to have been four descriptions for people to chose from ranging from “A great deal of confidence” to “No confidence”. The results of the poll are shown in a pie chart as follows:
A result that surprised me was that only 35% of those answering the poll answered with a response of “A great deal of confidence”. But what really surprised me after seeing that result were the heading and sub-heading of the pie chart.
The heading of the pie chart was “Faith in vote-count is high”. The sub-heading was “Asked how confident they are that their vote will be counted, Ohioans overall are confident.”
Now match up those words and the overall heading of the article which reads “Ohio voters confident on election integrity” with the fact that only 35% of those polled had “a great deal of confidence”. Do the words match the numbers?
65% of those polled decided they couldn’t choose “A great deal of confidence”, but chose something showing much less confidence than that. That’s nearly two out of every three voters polled showing at least moderate lack of confidence their vote will be counted.
You might blame the individual(s) who created the poll questions for not having more than four choices. There is a big difference between “A great deal of confidence” and just “Some confidence”. Maybe there should have been a couple more choices giving more refinement to those who only had some confidence? Was the “some” “a lot” or was the “some” more than “a little” but not very much?
But considering the choices those polled had and their responses, I would have expected alarm instead of categorizing it as “overall all confident”. After all, well below 50% (only 35%) had “a great deal of confidence” their vote would be counted.
Confidence in the integrity of our elections is essential to our Democratic Republic. When confidence is eroded, as it appears it has been, that becomes a threat. Ensuring a high level of confidence that our votes will be counted is essential.
I for one will be very confident my vote will be counted because I plan to vote in person. I expect to show my proof of identity and watch that a paper read out of my votes is recorded by the machine. That’s about all I can do to gain confidence. I have to hope the system has integrity from that point on.
So how did the “journalist” who wrote the article come to the decision that he should portray the opposite of what the poll showed? And for the purpose of this blog, how did the editor of the Chillicothe Gazette come to decide that such a dishonest column was worthy of printing in our paper.
But most important, if the poll really does reflect that two thirds of Ohio voters don’t have a high degree of confidence their vote will be counted, what can we do about it?
PS: It would be interesting to know who came up with the heading for the article. Whoever did either wanted to purposefully mislead readers or they need some education on how to interpret pie charts. If the later is the case, I’m more than willing to help them!
Follow Up: I wrote a letter to the editor of the Business Journal (Ann Woods) and she replied by email stating she had received my letter and “We stand by the article.” As of 09/18/2020 I haven’t received a reply to my letters to either CMOR or David Cohen at the Ray C. Bliss Institute. I have sent additional letters to the President of the University of Akron and Ohio Sec. of State.