Here's A Clever Polling Trick
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From the NYT, an article that naively recounts a clever trick to play anytime you want to discredit the public. But you have to have deep pockets because polling agencies don't like to do this:
Perceptions of the impact of migration in some countries are so distorted that their citizens estimate that there are as many as three times the number of immigrants living there than is actually the case, a global migration body says in a report being released on Tuesday.

In “World Migration Report for 2011,” the International Organization for Migration, a 132-member intergovernmental body based in Geneva, warns that misinformation about migration fans “harmful stereotypes, discrimination and xenophobia.”  ...

Your taxpayer dollars at work! This International Organization for Migration spent $1.4 billion dollars in 2010.

People in destination countries tended to significantly overstate the size of the migrant population, the organization said, based on polling from an annual survey, “Trans-Atlantic Trends.”

The actual percentage of migrants in Italy in 2010 was around 7 percent, the report said, “yet polls showed that the population perceived this percentage to be around a staggering 25 percent.”

Some surveys in the United States showed that the public believed that immigrants made up 39 percent of the population in 2010. That estimate, the report said, was “a far cry” from the actual 14 percent.

What a bunch of idiots immigration skeptics are!

Okay, seriously, this is a sure-fire ploy because on the rare occasions when public opinion polls ask questions with objective answers, the public always overestimates the share of the population comprised by the group being asked about. For example, a 2011 Gallup Poll found that the mean estimate of the homosexual share of the population was 24.6 percent. Or, as I wrote

A 2001 Gallup survey, right after the release of 2000 Census results, found that the average American estimated that 33% of the population was black and 29% were Hispanic. That adds up the two main minorities accounting for 62%, or a majority of the population, but who's counting? Not most people.

In that 2001 survey, nonwhites estimated that 40% of the population was black and 35% was Hispanic (adding up to 75%). In contrast, people claiming postgraduate degrees estimated that 25% were black and 24% Hispanic (only about double the Census numbers), which proves the value of advanced education.

Of course, another aspect of this trick that the IOM is doing is to not count children of immigrants as immigrants.

The spokesman for the 132-country governmental organization with a $1.4 billion annual budget goes on:

Meanwhile, foreign workers in Europe suffered higher unemployment in 2010 than their counterparts in the citizenry. While Spaniards suffered 18.1 percent unemployment in 2010, the rate for foreigners in Spain was 30.2 percent, the organization’s data show. In Germany, migrants were nearly twice as likely as locals to be jobless (12.4 percent versus 6.5 percent) during the summer of 2010. Europe, for its part, was the generator of new outflows, with net emigration from Ireland reaching 60,000 people at the end of 2010, after 7,800 in 2009.
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