Open Thread

FYI, the poll that John and a bunch of you experienced uses a psychological effect called priming to boost Republican poll numbers. A cognitive scientist named Daniel Kahneman won a Nobel prize a while back for describing how it works: when the poll prompts you to think about four ‘issues’ that define conservative thinking, it makes you more concerned about those issues and therefore more conservative. The effect has enough force to push the numbers a bit in the right direction, if not enough to sway people like me who get physically ill at the idea of president Romney. One of the defining feature of these kinds of cognitive weakness, Kahneman found, is that everyone thinks they are immune but no one is. Not as bad as a push poll (“would it affect your vote if you knew that Romney tortures cats? Push one for yes.”) but it would still get you laughed out of intro to psych. I strongly recommend Kahneman’s book Thinking, Fast and Slow for a much more thorough treatment of the topic.

Chat about whatever.

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85 replies
  1. 1

    I think my refrigerator just died. Been that kind of day.

  2. 2
    Egg Berry says:

    OK, i didn’t think that poll was about priming. more about Bahaman vacations.

  3. 3
    Cap'n Magic says:

    Aaand… MN GOP Party gets eviction notice.

  4. 4
    jenn says:

    I second the recommendation for Thinking, Fast and Slow. It’s a fantastic book, and I’ve already used several things I’ve learned from it in developing lesson plans.

  5. 5
    Valdivia says:

    @General Stuck:

    sorry General. That happened to me a while ago. It was the suck. Hope your week gets better.

  6. 6
    Tim F. says:

    @Egg Berry: it was about both. Writ large, conservatism is an economic scam by the wealthy to rob everyone else. It makes perfect sense to bundle a politically conservative pitch with a small-scale scam as well, since they add up to the same thing. Call it the Glenn Beck doctrine.

  7. 7
  8. 8
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    “would it affect your vote if you knew that Romney tortures cats? Push one for yes.”

    I’d press one.

    Because while it would affect my vote, it would not affect it in the way they think it would.

    After all, we know for a fact, from his own lips, that he tortures dogs.

  9. 9
    Valdivia says:

    @General Stuck:

    so welcome :)

    a totally OT question. In the last week I started getting spam texts (mostly Walmart but also Win an iPad ones). That had never happened before, is this a new thing or am I totally behind the curve?

  10. 10
    gex says:

    I have in fact already started that book. The right wing loves their fast thinking and they hates them some slow thinking. Truthiness and gut hunches are quick and satisfying.

  11. 11
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Valdivia: I haven’t seen “Win an iPad” but most of my spam lately has been either all Arabic or an English sender’s name and the text is Arabic.

  12. 12
    Canuckistani Tom says:

    The province of Ontario will increase taxes by 2% on all residents who earn more than $500 000 per year

    It can be done

  13. 13
    Bnut says:

    Been so swamped I just realized that my best friend’s wedding is in 5 weeks and I have yet to finalize bachelor party plans, get my suit, or start righting the toast. Fuck.

  14. 14
    Triassic Sands says:

    I second the recommendation for “Thinking, Fast and Slow.”

    Kahneman writes well and the book is easily accessible to anyone* wanting a thoroughly enjoyable non-fiction book. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in quite a while.

    Note: it’s a terrible book for a Republican or anyone who believes success is due entirely to one’s own efforts. Kahneman is fully aware of the ubiquity of luck in success.

    *Pretty much anyone interested in reading this book will be able to understand and enjoy it. I expected a more difficult read, but it turned out to be a breeze.

  15. 15
    PPOG Penguin says:

    Nicely illustrated in “Yes, Prime Minister” where Sir Humphrey demonstrates how to get the answer you want to an opinion poll:

  16. 16
    Valdivia says:


    oh yours are interesting!
    mine are walmart win this or win this other thing from an anonymous weird link.

    but it just started happening this week. I hope it doesn’t become a huge hassle getting all those texts from unsolicited companies. can’t one block them? Like telemarketers?

  17. 17
    gaz says:

    @Canuckistani Tom: yay, i think? I don’t follow Canadian politics much (sorry, too much BS to sort through here in the US, or maybe I’m just lazy) but I’m guessing Canada’s economy is depressed right now as well, and under the Harper admin, raising tax revenue is probably no small feat. Congratulations on your victory (however substantial)

  18. 18
    gaz says:


    a totally OT question

    How do you go off topic in an open thread? I’m curious, because it sounds like it’d take a lot of skill. I’d like to try it myself sometime. =)

    You haz teh awesome r337 commenter[eta: trolling]* madskillz, yo.. =)

    I’m just ribbin’ ya. Cheers.

    * * (freudian slip? u decide!)

  19. 19
    Valdivia says:


    hhis. I guess I meant OT from talking to General Stuck

    Maybe it’s that I contain multitudes, that’s were my mad skillz come from ;)

    ETA you went back in time to answer me?
    that is madskillz!

  20. 20
    Scamp Dog says:

    They can make me get more concerned over the deficit, but they’ll have a tough time convincing me that we should solve them by screwing over 90% of the population with spending cuts, especially when combined with tax cuts to the folks at the top.

  21. 21
    gaz says:

    @Valdivia: hehehe. i gotcha, i think. 5 minute rule can apply on teh threadz too I suppose =)

  22. 22
    Elizabelle says:

    David Letterman just had a great little segment on.

    “Mitt Romney, Man of the People”

    Voiceover: “Mitt Romney owns this horse.”

    Video: fancy dressage horse high-stepping around

    Graphic: rubberstamp, in red: FACT

    It made me laugh.

  23. 23
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Valdivia: You should be able to block things through your email client settings. Yahoo, Road Runner, Gmail, Juno, Hotmail have places to add what you consider spam and they also filter out spam with their own rules. If I see something new in regular email list, I click on the spam button and the item is logged in as spam for future comparison.

  24. 24
    gaz says:

    @Cap’n Magic: I think I just had a yay!gasm. Aww, those poor people!

  25. 25
    Canuckistani Tom says:


    No need to apologize, I just wanted to give out some motivation to people who might need it.

    It’s a provincial tax hike, not a federal one. Ontario’s had a minority gov’t since last fall, and in order to get the NDP’s support for the budget, the Libs had to raise taxes.

    Quoting from the article “[NDP leader Andrea Horwath] won a huge victory by convincing the Liberals to impose the 2 per cent surtax on 23,000 high-income earners that would raise $470 million in 2013-14 with all proceeds going toward paying down the $15.2 billion deficit.”

  26. 26
    Valdivia says:


    yes I have done that for sure but these were straight up texts into my phone. So annoying. Also some come in the middle of the night and wake me up. So rude ;)

  27. 27

    A new Merrill/Morrison Institute poll in Arizona finds Mitt Romney barely leading President Obama in a general election match up, 42% to 40%, with another 18% undecided.

    Said pollster Bruce Merrill: “The eventual outcome also may be dependent on whether former Surgeon General Richard Carmona can mount a vigorous campaign for retiring Sen. John Kyl’s seat, a campaign that would stimulate turnout in the Hispanic community. While I think if the election were held today Romney probably would win, it appears Obama can mount a competitive campaign in Arizona.”

    I had forgotten Carmona was running for senate, and his likely energizing the Hispanic community in that state to vote in higher numbers, could help Obama win AZ.

  28. 28
    Valdivia says:


    love that. this is what is going to cement Romney as the candidate of the 1%. the endless joking about him. Hope it becomes a daily feature.

    ETA: @General Stuck: those are numbers to make one actually think it is possible.

    I also just saw at TPM that Obama is leading in NH, after trailing RMoney for all of 2011.

  29. 29
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Valdivia: Ah. That problem I don’t have, so no ideas or words of wisdom on solving it.

  30. 30
    suzanne says:

    @General Stuck: We’re working on it. Obama’s opening up four offices here this time, and Clinton won Arizona in ’96, so it’s not undoable.

    My eight-year-old just had her first zit. UGHHHH. Puberty.

  31. 31
    Valdivia says:


    thanks anyway. it really is bizarre. I hope it stops. also the late night buzzing of the phone is so annoying.

    Off to count sheep.
    g’night y’all.

  32. 32
    gaz says:

    @Canuckistani Tom: Wait, you have to force your liberals hands to get a tax hike in a depressed economy? are they basically Keynesian?, or are they like our neo-Democrat Friedman followers? Actually, you don’t have to answer that. It’d probably just confuse me. =)

    In fact, it seems the more I find out about Canadian politics, the more confused I get. =)

    I’ve been learning about mexican politics, mostly because I’ve bought property down there, and plan to watch the implosion of an empire from a safe distance. =P (okay that was snark, I have many reasons for moving, but that has occurred to me)… While mexican politics are not very confusing to me, the power sharing stuff in most parliamentary politics has always sort of eluded me, Canada’s included =) I’ll work it out someday. maybe =)

  33. 33
    Valdivia says:


    ah good ole Mexico. Their politics are fascinating too. Their election this summer will be one for the books I think. Probably the winner will be the old ruling party the PRI called the perfect dictatorship because they lasted in power for 70 years as the only legal party for most of it.

  34. 34
    gaz says:

    Yep. The rule of thumb is tell PRI you are a supporter, so that you can get shit from them ;), and then vote against them at every opportunity. At least that’s the take of a few Mexican nationals I know, as well as my wife.

    I think it’s awesome that they basically are forced to ban alcohol 3 days leading up to an election, for fear of riots. *That* is voter enthusiasm. Plus they know how to block roads and burn shit when it comes to that. American Democrats Liberals are such pussies. =) heh.

  35. 35
    Elizabelle says:

    NYTimes book review on Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow.

    Which gently points out that David “Bobo” Brooks may not understand Kahneman’s concepts as well as he thinks he does.


  36. 36
    Mnemosyne says:

    I put this on the previous Open Thread just after it died, so I’m re-posting it:

    Any cooks available to help me use up some of my freezer stuff? I’m finally getting around to trying to make that tater tot casserole I was thinking about and what I have on hand is:

    pineapple-bacon chicken sausage
    sweet potato tater tots
    cream of celery soup
    shredded Mexican cheese

    So what I’m thinking is, brown the sausage, put it in the bottom of a baking dish, pour undiluted soup over it, sprinkle it with cheese, and layer the frozen tots on top. Ideas? Suggestions? I also have eggs and milk, for once, but those recipes seemed very breakfast-oriented. I may try to mix in some frozen corn, too, since I have some of that on hand.

  37. 37
    Clime Acts says:

    Since we have been officially encouraged to “chat about whatever,” please allow me share with you my latest “portraicature,” a faboo take on the immortal Marilyn Monroe.

    Now available for purchase. Email me if you’re interested.

    A good one of Prez Obama to share also here in a few minutes.

  38. 38
    piratedan says:

    might be time for another open thread/job match thread around here…. never hurts to keep the bleg for jobs an ongoing thing. I know that I feel a whole lot better about myself after being on the sidelines for so long and you never know when this will turn out to be a random act of kindness to a fellow juicer.

  39. 39
    Nylund says:

    Priming is actually pretty amazing. There was a neat study, I think from Harvard, where they took a group of Asian females and made them do math tests. They “primed” some to be reminded of being Asian and they did better. They primed others to think of their gender, and they did worse. In short, they fulfilled the stereotypes by being reminded of the key trait of those stereotypes.

    It’s also why so many grocery stores have bouquets of flowers near the entrance. It’s to “prime” you into thinking about freshness before you start taking a look at the meats and vegetables they’re selling.

  40. 40
    Clime Acts says:


    I understand that you loathe and despise me, but I do cook a lot.

    I think you’ve got too many competing flavors going into that casserole. Pineapple with cream of celery AND sweet potato AND Mexican flavored cheese?


    I’d make sausage patties, melt the cheese on top, and serve them with the tots as a side.

    That said, sometimes great things come from experimentation in the kitchen…

  41. 41
    Cap'n Magic says:

    @gaz: The MN GOP are quite a sight to behold-not only are they deep in debt they now have to fight off one ex-staffer who’s making quite a stink over getting sacked by the shortest tenured majority leader in MN Senate history.

    Then again, when you have a state that has thrust Jesse Ventura and Michelle Bachmann into the limelight and the hottest issue around these parts is whether the Vikings will move to LA…well…

  42. 42
    Jibeaux says:

    @Mnemosyne: really? I have to say I’d brown the sausage, bake the sweet tater tots if they’re good (I was disappointed in the Alexia brand ones I got), add a side of sauteed spinach or homemade slaw, keep the cheese for another day and chuck cream of anything soup in the trash or in
    a time machine to 1958. But tastes differ, and who knows.

  43. 43
    Mark S. says:

    For first time since Depression, more Mexicans leave U.S. than enter

    Maybe we don’t need to build a 2,000 mile electrical fence after all.

  44. 44
    Clime Acts says:

    Here is my PORTRAICATURE of President Obama, now also available for purchase. Please let me know what you think, and if you are interested, email me at the address associated with the link.

    From now up to the election I will give 20 percent of every purchase price to the Obama campaign, and provide documentation to verify the transaction.

  45. 45
    Clime Acts says:



    Where would Middlewestern and Southern cuisine be without “cream of something” soup? :D

  46. 46
    Roger Moore says:

    @General Stuck:
    Just think of the positive: if some kid crank calls you and asks if your refrigerator is running, you can truthfully tell him it just died and everybody is in mourning.

  47. 47
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Clime Acts:

    I’m trying to do a take on the classic white trash dish, so completely deconstructing it doesn’t work. But I’m now leaning towards going with sausage, milk, egg and tots (with maybe a little sprinkle of cheese since it’s pretty mild) and leaving out the soup. Cream soup with the strongly flavored sausage might be overkill.

  48. 48
    Jibeaux says:

    You could also, if you can scare up a decent salsa and corn tortillas, go for a sausage-based huevos rancheros with the egg and the cheese, with the tots as a sub for hash browns. There is still no role for cream of celery soup in this meal. :)

  49. 49
    Roger Moore says:

    @Mark S.:

    Maybe we don’t need to build a 2,000 mile electrical fence after all.

    I see; destroying the economy was just the Republicans’ clever way of finally doing something effective about illegal immigration.

  50. 50
    Jibeaux says:

    @Mnemosyne: There’s a place for that kind of thing — I don’t care what anybody says, the very best Mac and cheese outside a French restaurant is going to have Velveeta in it — but I don’t know that you can play with the formula quite that much. I like the second idea better.

  51. 51
    Mnemosyne says:


    Dude, what part of “casserole” are you not getting? The whole point of a casserole is to throw together a bunch of ingredients that sound like they would be gross if you ate them together but then the end result turns out to be tasty.

    I’m guessing you did not grow up in an area of the US that considered this dish to be a “salad.”

    ETA in case it was not coming across :-)

  52. 52
    Amir Khalid says:

    Romney tortures cats? OMFG!

  53. 53
    Jibeaux says:

    @Mnemosyne: Well, I wrote it before I saw the update. But, NC born and bred and I know ambrosia well. Can’t bear sweetened dried coconut, but if anyone ever made that Watergate stuff anymore, the green goo with walnuts and marshmallows and pineapple, I would inhale it

  54. 54
    Clime Acts says:


    OMG, YES!

    Ambrosia Salad is to die for.

    My aunt Sheryle always brought the “salads” to family holiday meals (we called them Sheryle Salads) and Ambrosia was one of her most famous. Hell yes, it’s White Trash Fancy, but damn it’s good. :D

    Another favorite Sheryle Salad was mint green in color, with kind of a marshmallowish texture, and contained chopped nuts because why not? YUM

  55. 55
    Clime Acts says:


    You posted this while I was writing my comment above: IT WAS WALDORF, NOT WATERGATE, SALAD! We were thinking of the same thing and it’s damn good.


  56. 56
    Mark S. says:

    @Roger Moore:

    It makes you wonder who really is playing 11-dimensional chess.

    I thought this was an interesting point in the article:

    “If this goes on for much longer, it’s going to take a lot to reverse it,” Capps said. “A lot of migration is based on networks — people who know people who know about the environment they’re going to be moving into. When the jobs disappear and the people you know aren’t there anymore, this channel of communication either dries up or it becomes so negative that it just changes everybody’s mind.”

    It should be interesting. This country is addicted to illegal workers to do a bunch of shit jobs for sub-minimum wage pay. I have a feeling they’ll find some new country to import them from, cause paying people more would be communism.

  57. 57
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Mnemosyne: That is a salad. One of four basic salad options I had growing up, the other three being cucumber, macaroni and jello.

  58. 58
    handy says:

    @Tim F.

    FYI, the poll that John and a bunch of you experienced uses a psychological effect called priming to boost Republican poll numbers.

    Today I got a call from some polling outfit. The first sentence: “Like a lot of Americans, we know you too care about the debt crisis.” I hung up.

  59. 59
    Jibeaux says:

    Right, Waldorf. Both hotels. I think that was my problem. That is some fine white trash cooking. Or…mixing, I guess. I would enjoy it completely unironically with pigs in a blanket. And still, my taste buds rebel at the prospect of this casserole.

  60. 60
    gaz says:

    @Mark S.:

    It should be interesting. This country is addicted to illegal workers to do a bunch of shit jobs for sub-minimum wage pay. I have a feeling they’ll find some new country to import them from, cause paying people more would be communism.

    Of course we will. We built our empire on the backs of cheap laborers. It’s a centuries old tradition, and as American as apple pie and baseball.

    And so fucking what? If we resurrected a decent guest worker program, I’d still get my cheap-ish milk, chicken, eggs, fruit and veggies – NOT from China, but local, and the laborers would stop getting their families ripped apart and essentially shit on in every way we can manage, which is essentially the (ETA) racist-as-fuck status quo we have now

  61. 61
    Steeplejack says:

    @Clime Acts:

    Linky no work. You fix.

  62. 62
    suzanne says:

    @Clime Acts:

    Another favorite Sheryle Salad was mint green in color, with kind of a marshmallowish texture, and contained chopped nuts because why not? YUM

    My mom made that one. The green was pistachio pudding mix. With walnuts. She also made the orange jello ambrosia one with the coconut.

    All of these recipes came from the big red Betty Crocker cookbook. The one that was an actual three-ring binder. We brought our Long Island white trash traditions to Arizona, where the Mormon housewives took that shit to entirely new levels and now we unabashedly eat arugula.

  63. 63
    Jibeaux says:

    @Suffern ACE: That sounds like the Midwest. Here you could’ve also gotten turnip salad, which is at least green.

  64. 64
    Bruce S says:

    You’re giving this poll too much credit. It wasn’t a real poll. It was a sales scam. This is evident in the “self-selection” involved. No one – not even FOX News – would cite that poll. In fact, the results are likely not even published or promoted. There’s a psychological effect called The Barnum Factor that should tell even moderately rational people that when they hear “Bahamian vacation” as the entree to being asked to take a “political” poll, they’re being taken for a fool.

  65. 65
    Mnemosyne says:


    Have you ever read any of Lori Notaro’s books? She’s local to you (or at least she was when she first started getting published).

    In one of my favorites, she mentions that when her New York Italian family moved to Phoenix, the kindly neighbors greeted them with a lasagna made with cottage cheese, Ragu and Velveeta, which sent her mother screaming into the street, trying to catch the moving van.

  66. 66
    suzanne says:

    @Mnemosyne: LMMFAO. No. I don’t know her, but she looks awesome.

    There’s actually tons of New Yorkers out here. Everyone who gets sick of cold weather, traffic, and expensive housing seems to end up here. But the Mormons….man. THAT’S a group of people with wretched taste in food. Ward potluck? RUN.

  67. 67
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    @Bnut: Here’s the toast I used for my oldest and best friend:

    Salud y pesetas y tiempo para gustarlas.

    (Health, wealth, and time to enjoy them.)

    Ya doesn’t need to say any more than that.

  68. 68
    The prophet Nostradumbass says:

    This may be the ultimate distillation of wingnut opinion on the Trayvon Martin case.

  69. 69
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    @Clime Acts: Where would 1950s cuisine without “Cream of Something Soup”. Half the recipes I grew up with were on the back of a Campbell’s can. The others involved Ragu.

    I didn’t know about garlic until I was in college!

  70. 70
    Mnemosyne says:

    The reason I have the pineapple-bacon chicken sausage is that I made this Island-Style Fried Rice for our potluck luau at work. It was good, but you can cut WAY back on the meat and oil — even though I used chicken sausage and reduced-fat Spam, it was still pretty greasy. But really, really tasty.

    ETA: Also, Spam fresh out of the can smells like ass. It tastes okay once you get it fried up, but that ass smell lingers in the kitchen even after cooking. Ugh.

  71. 71
    Cacti says:

    @General Stuck:

    I had forgotten Carmona was running for senate, and his likely energizing the Hispanic community in that state to vote in higher numbers, could help Obama win AZ.

    The pendulum in AZ has swung so far to the right in the past 5 years, we’re overdue for an adjustment.

    I think Carmona running for US Senate helps. Also, the worm finally seems to be turning on the longstanding corruption of Joe Arpaio, with his top stooges Hendershott and Thomas being recently fired and disbarred respectively. Our corrupt and venal state senate president, Russell Pearce, was also thrown out on his ass in a recall election.

    I would favor Romney here out of the gate, but if O can keep it within the margin of error in the polls, I think it portends a national blowout coming for Willard.

  72. 72
    Clime Acts says:


    The link to the Obama painting worked for me.

    Here, we’ll try this again: President Obama

  73. 73
    Clime Acts says:


    Spam fresh out of the can smells like ass. It tastes okay once you get it fried up, but that ass smell lingers in the kitchen even after cooking. Ugh.


    I keep MY ass freshly laundered and powdered, thank you.

    My dad, a WWII vet, LOVED him some Spam.

  74. 74
    Yutsano says:

    @Bnut: Heh. How cute. You think you’ll even remember you have a speech after you’ve been nicely pickled on champers and Crown. Not even your Parris-induced tolerance can rescue you here.

    In all honesty, talk from the heart. It’ll come into place.

  75. 75
    Cacti says:


    But the Mormons….man. THAT’S a group of people with wretched taste in food. Ward potluck? RUN.


    As a veteran of 20+ years of ward potlucks, Wasatch Front cuisine is truly awful.

    There are usually 2-3 women in the ward (never men) that know how to make decent food. Their dishes get gobbled up halfway through the first run of the chow line. What’s left is an assortment of cream of who-knows-what casseroles, with sliced hotdogs and topped with crushed potato chips.

  76. 76
    Steeplejack says:

    @Clime Acts:

    This content is currently unavailable.
    The page you requested cannot be displayed right now. It may be temporarily unavailable, the link you clicked on may have expired, or you may not have permission to view this page.

    Maybe only you can see it, or you have to be logged into Facebook to see it? (I am not.) But your Marilyn link worked fine for me.

  77. 77
    Origuy says:

    Cassarole with cream of celery soup and jello salad? Has this turned into a Mormon cuisine thread?

  78. 78
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    @Yutsano: although, major caveat, if the brother is marrying a woman from another country, winging it can lead to a series of borderline racist and definitely offensive jokes about that country, its people and their hygene/food/parentage. I’ve seen it happen. It’s not pretty.

  79. 79
    Clime Acts says:


    Steeple, thank you very much for letting me know. Don’t know what that is about, but here is another link to the same image, my portrait of President Obama, as it is presented on my web site,

    Again, 20% of any purchase from now to the the election goes to the Obama campaign, verified with documentation.

  80. 80
    Ecks says:

    @Nylund: Not to get too persnickety, but while Kahneman is an amazing guy, priming is not, technically, what he won his Nobel prize for. He studied various cognitive biases and mistakes we make. One of them was sort of an early precursor of priming when he talked about loss vs. gain framing (e.g., people are less willing to take a chance on the same gamble if it’s described in terms of the possible gain, than if it’s described in terms of the potential loss – people will gamble to avoid losses but want the sure thing for wins).

    Priming is more generally about how when we decide what to do the cognitive accessibility of potential ingredient thoughts tend to factor into how we cook up our outcome.

    Stereotype threat, BTW, which you describe with the Asian study, is only partly about priming. If you have people who are good at a skill, and invested in it being important to them, and you give them a hard test, people have to have all their cognitive resources available in clicking in order to perform as well as possible. If they know they belong to a group that is stereotyped as being bad at that thing (like women or African Americans at math), then awareness of that can create anxiety and distraction that interferes with performance. Telling them that this test shows “no gender differences” (without specifying what those would be) can remove the effect and level out their performance. That part isn’t necessarily priming.

    Also the flowers near the supermarket door might prime freshness, but I think the far bigger reasons to put them there is to a) prime a positive mood (which will improve their evaluation of most things), and for the same reason you put gum by the checkout counter – they tend to be an impulse purchase, and EVERYONE walks past the door, so everyone has the chance to impulse grab them. Sort of like how all department stores make you walk through the makeup counters to get inside – gives you maximum chances to be harangued by the people trying to get you to try makeup. If they were at the back of the shop they wouldn’t get nearly the same footfall.

  81. 81
    bob h says:

    Romney has to show donors he can move the needle against Obama. Are Fox and Rasmussen moving it for him?

  82. 82
    Ed in NJ says:


    Are you familiar with the term “humblebrag”?

  83. 83
    samara morgan says:

    i recently participated in a PPP poll that used this.
    the first question was “how do you rate Obama’s job performance?” 1-fav 2-unfav
    the next four questions were what is your opinion of (fill in the name) GOP candidate (santorum was still in)?”
    1-fav 2-unfav
    apples and oranges. Obamas likeability is still high, so polls use job performance instead.

    In 2008 conservatives rejected the pre-election polling and began to find ways of making up their own polls. Silver wrote quite a bit about Rasmussen effect. Then in 2010 Rasmussen was spoofed by the cell phone demographic in Colorado into predicting Buck and Tancredo wins.

    In the current sentiment polling i think we are seeing a pronounced white male sampling distortion.
    heres a comment i left at 538

    My nonparametrics professor was a big fan of something he called “the farmer method”…by that he meant eyeballing the data.
    It seems to me the current polling exhibits something I will call WMB or white male bias. If (as the cross tabs show) Romney is down almost 20 points with women and 47 points with latinos….how can he possibly be within single digits of Obama? Women make up more than half the electorate, and Romney isn’t getting a significant portion of the black vote.
    On observation, it just doesn’t seem like a 15% advantage with white men alone could bring Romney within the margin of error.
    How do you account for this, Nate?

    the results don’t make empirical sense….unless white male votes are somehow being over weighted in the sample.

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    someofparts says:

    I remember noticing that process decades ago in an odd context. A boyfriend’s sister had a copy of Cosmopolitan. I glanced through it and decided to answer the multiple choice questions on some quiz. It was something on the usual Cosmo topic of dating preferences. At the time I had recently discovered second wave feminism and it had already started to change my thinking. Working my way through the quiz, I kept finding that the answer I wanted to give was never even on the multiple choice list of possible responses. I stopped halfway through the thing and never bothered to finish because the sly, miserable thing had been designed so that it was absolutely impossible to give a feminist response at all.

  85. 85
    David in NY says:

    @General Stuck: Refrigerator died? Could be a good thing. New refrigerator recently cut my electric bill by about 1/3 (ymmv).

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