Saturday, November 1, 2014

Polling, privacy and policy

Sen. Kirsten Gilligrand
As part of the Defense Department's effort to get a handle on sexual assault in the armed forces, some serious polling is being done. There are, however, two problems. First, the Rand Corp. survey instrument is different from those used in prior years, thus making longitudinal analysis more difficult. Second, the questions on the new survey are more graphic -- and that has been off-putting to some number of respondents. The Associated Press ran this smart piece about the situation. On the survey changes from prior years:
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who has pressured the military to deal with its sexual assault problem, said changing the survey questions could skew the study over time.
"I am concerned the new survey was done in a manner that not only prevents comparing apples to apples from previous years. ... I hope this isn't a case of, 'If you don't like the answer, change the question.'"

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