walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

About that Reason-Rupe poll, with the playgrounds and such like that

You can find it. Feel free.

Start by reading the cross-tabs. Go ahead. I'll wait.


You'll need something that will load a spreadsheet because, cross tabs.

You'll notice that they asked everyone the 6 year olds allowed to play unsupervised at public parks question.

"In your opinion, should parents be allowed to let their [6 year old children] play at public parks unsupervised? Or should the law require they be supervised at public parks?"

That really sounds like a public parks rule (thou shalt not litter or take plant cuttings or vandalize the loo or whatever), rather than a law-law, like, don't take stuff that isn't yours. Not that health department rules about wearing shoes where food is served can be scoffed at.

They took the "no" respondents and asked them 9 years? And no respondents again asked 12 years. If you multiple the nos together, the actual response would be forty some odd percent think 12 year olds should be subject to a rule saying must be supervised at public parks. NOT "A whopping 83 percent of Americans think there should be a law that prohibits kids 9 and under from playing at the park unsupervised,", which Reason then published and everyone merrily repeated without bothering to look at the crosstabs to notice that, hey, surprised? No? Libertarians lie. Especially when they are funded by Koch brothers.

Possibly there are people who think that 6 year olds should be allowed to play unsupervised but 12 year olds shouldn't. It doesn't seem likely there are many, however, imo. Reason was careful not to check for them.

Now, I bothered to do the multiplication to get the forty odd percent, but it turns they didn't get their "83%" even on the 12 year old question. That was 63% in favor of supervision. But again, that was a heavily reduced sample.

Clearly, this is motivated. No one uses the first sentence to lie about an already heavily misleading question response if they aren't motivated. R. thinks libertarians are wildly innumerate, but they aren't _that_ innumerate. My sister thought they cooked the data. They may have. But their article doesn't summarize their own data correctly -- and they structured the question to get a response they weren't impressed enough by to let stand. Hence 63% becomes 83%.

(Typo in the crosstabs? Lots of typos in the crosstabs, then. Look across the rows.)

Here are my theories in order of how much I believe them:

(1) Monitored playgrounds with concessions a la Scandinavia would result in a lot of parents hanging out together drinking coffee and feeling relaxed and happy and chatting with each other. Fertile ground for "community organizers". Oh! The Horror! Must make sure that no one in the US would _ever_ support such a proposal. Poison the well or it will be just like gay marriage, abortion access, women in the workplace and freed slaves! (This is my preferred explanation, but I recognize it's pretty Out There.)

(2) 12 year olds who weren't in structured activities and were allowed to run around in public parks might generate public pressure to allow those kids to go find something useful to do. Get a job! Okay, let's get rid of child labor laws so they can do something worthwhile!

(3) Reason hopes to have a bunch of unsupervised kids in public places so they can make them all take a test that will show they aren't Democrats or Republicans like their Moms or Dads, but actually, They Are Libertarian! Thus refreshing the ranks of Reason.

(4) Reason is funded by secret pedophiles who are frustrated by the increasing difficulty of accessing prepubescent children.

(5) My personal favorite, altho I don't believe it at all: Reason interns are uniformly young people whose parents talk about how they ran around until Mom rang the cow bell/used the triangle/blew the conch shell. The interns were driven to one structured activity after another by those same parents (who vividly remembered all the kids who didn't survive), then attended the University of Chicago, got a degree in economics or poli sci and then went to work at Reason. They wish they had had some unsupervised time when they were kids because they sure don't have any free time now, since they are busy phonying up fake news like this for their internship.

Moral: If an annual survey is consistently released late in August by an ideologically motivated organization, don't bother with the summary. Go straight to the cross tabs, or, as my husband did, just let your eyes glaze over while you roll them.
Tags: our future economy today
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