Clara Jeffery has distorted the results of a small, insider’s poll conducted by She the People by not providing important caveats.

Media Outlet: Mother Jones
Mother Jones Editor: Clara Jeffery
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Click here for the poll.
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The Facts

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#1: This poll is flawed due in part to the small sample size of women of color, while potentially misrepresenting working class women of color due to the lack of transparency about the methodology of this poll.

The Facts

  • She the People is correct: “If the Democratic Party wants to win in 2020, they must address key issues and note which candidates are appealing — or not — to the women of color voting bloc. It’s crucial to invest in women of color in politics.” However, from what is (and isn’t) public about the methodology of this poll, it would be inaccurate to make generalizations about women of color in the general population based on a poll taken by party donors and insiders.
  • A survey of “influential women of color in politics” cannot be generalized to represent women of color throughout the rest of the country. This misrepresentation does little more than erase the voices of working-class women who aren’t in the upper echelons of politics.
  • Clara Jeffery – When you say a “survey asked black women,” it is essential to make sure that the survey, in fact, asked only black women. A survey where “nearly 50%” of respondents identify as African American should not qualify.
  • The respondents for this SheThePeople poll are made up of “campaign donors (48.5%), current and former elected officials (10.6%), campaign managers (5.7%), electoral campaign strategists (8.7%), and women who run (23.1%) or work (23.5%) at politically-minded organizations.” This can be problematic, as the American Association for Public Opinion Research states: “If the people who participate in the poll are different from those who do not, results can be biased because on these differences.”
  • [According to the AAPOR], If people who participate in a poll are different from those who don’t, results can be biased and shouldn’t be generalized. SheThePeople polled donors, elected officials and campaign managers & strategists – a group that makes up a tiny fraction of the electorate.
  • SheThePeople polled 264 women. Even when given the benefit of the doubt regarding methodology, the poll has a 6% margin of error – leaving little to no significant difference between the majority of potential presidential candidates.
  • A single poll, especially one of a political organization, doesn’t give an accurate picture of who is going to win the primary.  A 2018 Gallup Poll found 64% of people of color are favorable to Bernie Sanders and a 2018 Harvard-Harris Poll found he was favored by 58% of women, 73% of African Americans, 68% Hispanics, 62% Asian Americans.
  • Bernie Sanders has a 79.5% favorability (with 20.5% unfavorable) with Black women, according to the Reuters poll aggregator. Kamala Harris, meanwhile, tops off at 69.8% (with 30.2% unfavorable).
  • According to Pew Research, “It is important to consider whether certain words may be viewed as potentially offensive to some respondents, as well as the emotional reaction that some words may cause.” The majority of big donors & campaign strategists find the words “Bernie Sanders” reprehensible by default.
  • We need more details about the poll that demonstrate its validity:
    • Does She The People think this sample size is valid?
    • Did She The People randomize the questions?Did She The People randomize the answers?
    • Did the respondents volunteer or were they randomly selected?
    • How did She The People choose the issues offered?
    • Why didn’t She The People include money in politics as a policy issue?
    • What steps did She The People take to ensure that the questions and answer options are not ambiguous or biased?
  • Clara Jeffery, the Editor-in-Chief of Mother Jones, is using an organization that supports women of color as an opportunity to smear Bernie Sanders. It shows how little she thinks of her readers. Most people are not able to take the time to read the respondents’ actual demographics. This is irresponsible journalism.

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GOAL

  • Inform Buzz Feed and Mother Jones’ audience about how to identify reliable polls
  • Inform Buzz Feed and Mother Jones’ audience about how polling results can be easily skewed to support the agenda of the author
  • Encourage the author and editor of these reports to correct their statements

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