Monday, April 04, 2011

The ugly truth behind Politico's 'what women want' article

Politico has an opinion piece by Joan Kuriansky and Celinda Lake called "What do women really want?"

The crux of the matter, they conclude, is that women want to be taken care of by government. Women want social security increased; they want more money from Community Block Grants to pay for their training; they want minimum wages, etc., etc., etc....

What they don't tell you, though, is critical to understanding why their conclusions are so totally wrong.

Their opinion piece is based upon a 2010 Lake Research Partners survey for the Center for Community Change and the Ms. Foundation for Women. The 2010 Lake Research Partners survey, is not a very good survey on which to base ideas about what women, in general, want. In fact, the Title Page of the report clearly identifies the major problem with any such conclusions.

It states:

Community Voices on the Economy
Report from a Nationwide Survey of 1,004 Adults with Oversamples of African American Women, Latinas, Low-Income Women, and Single Moms

As if that wasn't clear enough, on page 2 they explain (emphasis added):

Lake Research Partners designed and administered this survey which was conducted by professional interviewers. The survey reached a total of 1,004 adults nationwide, with oversamples of 100 African American women, 100 Latinas, 100 single mothers, and 200 low-income women. Relevant cases in the base were folded into the oversamples. The survey was conducted January 19 to February 3, 2010.

Did you see the bolded text? They readily admit that they oversampled minorities, single mothers and low-income women in conducting the survey - and they are right to emphasize that bias.

Because they tell us they oversampled a targeted group of women, we know that the opinions expressed are primarily of those groups and not of a 'general' grouping of women. As a result, the only valid conclusion anyone can have is that the survey reflects primarily what THOSE groups want - not what "women" want, as the authors of the Politico piece would have you believe.

I could go into other details about the conclusions of the authors but I think I'll hold those thoughts for when I fill in tomorrow on WSPD. Be sure to tune in at 3 p.m. if you'd like to hear more - or have your own thoughts on this.

But the opinion piece is a farce to portray the survey results as "women care about kitchen-table issues — investments in public education, affordable health insurance, protecting Social Security, equal pay enforcement, minimum wage increases and job training" instead of accurately explaining that it's only "some" women - primarily recipients of such spending - who hold those opinions.

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