And then we got here:
James Zogby himself, among others, felt compelled to attempt to rebut my article. "There are bad polls, and then there are bad interpretations of polls," he wrote in the Huffington Post. "Putting them together (i.e. a bad interpretation of a bad poll) can create a mess of misinformation."
The "bad poll" in question is a recent survey for the al-Arabiya television network, noted in my article, which found a staggering 71 percent of Arab respondents had no interest in the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks. And the "bad interpretation" is my presumed failure to recognize that this was not a fully scientific poll but rather an "online vote," which didn't refer to the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks but rather to the "Middle East peace process."
It is arguable of course that an "online-vote" by 8844 respondents (more than twice the size of the Brookings/Zogby poll), answering one straightforward question, might be more accurate and less susceptible to manipulation than "scientifically" crafted surveys purposively choosing their target audiences; or that ordinary Arabs, living as they do in one of the least democratic parts of the world, will be more candid in the relative obscurity of the web than in the presence of a pollster knocking on their front door or contacting them by phone.
And ... we're done here.
Because even I, B+ student in Statistics for Half-Witted Morons that I was, know that it is not, in fact, arguable that online polls (no matter how many people respond) are more accurate than a scientific poll. In fact, the entire polling industry got its start because George Gallup proved that scientific polling was far more accurate than even data drawn from a giant, non-random response pool (in his case, the Reader's Digest polls).
Anybody who is more statistically illiterate than I am really can't be trusted on any topic that involves gauging public opinion. Moving on.