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*** UPDATED x2 *** Botched political play(s) of the week

Tuesday, Jun 29, 2010

* You gotta be kidding me

A new satellite office located at 420 E. Main Collinsville will serve Southwestern Illinois in providing information, education and outreach services the state treasurer’s office offers.

“This area is expanding and becoming increasingly diverse and there is a real need for residents to have consistent access to programs and services from the treasurer’s office,” said Chief of Staff Robin Kelly.

Both Robin Kelly and Alexi Giannoulias are running for statewide office. Metro East Democratic turnout will be hugely important this fall. It doesn’t take a genius to see that this move has political ramifications.

Giannoulias and Kelly have had three and a half years to open that office, and they chose to do it right before an election and, more telling, during a huge state budget crisis. What a stupid move.

*** UPDATE 1 *** From the treasurer’s office…

We’ve opened satellite offices gradually around the state each year of this administration. All of the locations are rent free, so taxpayers do not pay for the space.

In fact, the purpose of the satellite offices was to save money. They cut down on travel expenses and give employees more time in the office to work and interact with constituents.

Since the first satellite office opened in 2007, we’ve saved nearly $30,000 in travel/operating costs. We are constantly looking for ways to do more with less.

Also, we’ve introduced more accountability to our staff, as no employees are now allowed to work out of their homes, a practice allowed under the previous administration.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Speaking of botched politics. Daily Kos fired the Research 2000 polling firm after their numbers in a round of elections didn’t match up to reality. And now, DKos is about to sue the firm after research showed it may have made up its numbers

DailyKos has published a report by “three statistics wizards showing, quite convincingly, that the weekly Research 2000 State of the Nation poll we ran the past year and a half was likely bunk.”

“While the investigation didn’t look at all of Research 2000 polling conducted for us, fact is I no longer have any confidence in any of it, and neither should anyone else. I ask that all poll tracking sites remove any Research 2000 polls commissioned by us from their databases. I hereby renounce any post we’ve written based exclusively on Research 2000 polling.”

One item the researches discovered was an odd even/odd correlation in the numbers. First, they showed some poll results…

And then offered up this analysis

A combination of random sampling error and systematic difference should make the M results differ a bit from the F results, and in almost every case they do differ. In one respect, however, the numbers for M and F do not differ: if one is even, so is the other, and likewise for odd. Given that the M and F results usually differ, knowing that say 43% of M were favorable (Fav) to Obama gives essentially no clue as to whether say 59% or say 60% of F would be. Thus knowing whether M Fav is even or odd tells us essentially nothing about whether F Fav would be even or odd.

Thus the even-odd property should match about half the time, just like the odds of getting both heads or both tails if you tossed a penny and nickel. If you were to toss the penny and the nickel 18 times (like the 18 entries in the first two columns of the table) you would expect them to show about the same number of heads, but would rightly be shocked if they each showed exactly the same random-looking pattern of heads and tails.


* Other stuff…

* Illinois: No fees for veteran plates

* Rockford spelling champ honored by governor

* Suit money goes to low-income maternal health care

* University of Chicago hospital pays $7M to settle suit over NICU crowding

* Analysis: What’s behind the Attorney General’s investigation of Lollapalooza?: Whatever the scope of and motivations behind the investigation, it is clear that all of these questions will hover over the Chicago music scene until Madigan finally says exactly why her office has set its sights on Lollapalooza–or if she takes one of several possible actions ranging from a lawsuit filed on behalf of Chicago residents, to crafting a consent decree whereby Lollapalooza agrees to change the way it does business, to giving the concert a clean bill of health and ultimately doing nothing at all–which sources say is the least likely outcome of all.

* Illinois Takes a Hard Look at Google

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Leroy - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 12:48 pm:

    == What a stupid move. ==

    But stupid enough such that people will not vote for him?

    Of course not.

    He’s stupid like a fox!

  2. - bored now - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 12:51 pm:

    rich, you’ve gotten ahead of yourself. as i recall, the treasurer’s office only began opening satellite offices within the past year, and they’ve opened them at a pretty slow pace. i can only assume that they are opening offices where people live, which — by it’s very nature — has “political ramifications.”

    i urge you to talk to robin about this; i’m sure that you will be happy with her explanation…

  3. - Scooby - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 12:52 pm:

    Free office space opened up and they opened a local office for free.

    I hate when our government is so stupid that they do things like add service for no additional cost. How stupid.

  4. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 12:52 pm:

    Yeah, everyone needs a satellite treasurer’s office. What a bunch of BS.

    That’s like back in the day when Neil Hartigan opened satellite AG offices all over the state. Except, back then, they didn’t pretend very hard to be anything but political outposts.

  5. - Gregor - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 12:54 pm:

    Bottom line in that area I predict will be; “of course it was politically motivated; better late than never, now get cracking on those services, mister!”

    The memory is short for the motivations, but long on appreciation for results. Did you see the love fest in Marion this past week? You’d have thought it was the Second Coming.

  6. - Niles Township - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 1:14 pm:

    What a waste. End the lease. Terminate the employees staffing the place. Let’s move to the real world, people.

  7. - Responsa - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 1:20 pm:

    –Free office space opened up and they opened a local office for free–

    Yeah, the electricity, staff, “outreach” literature, parade candy and transportation reimbursement costs are all free too. Right?

    But gotta drive that essential marked Prius around the state’s roads, right?

    This sort of thing is why many PO’d Illinois voters think there may still be just a teensy little bit of cutting that could be done from the state’s budget without jeopardizing essential services. Satellite office my foot.

  8. - Vole - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 1:23 pm:

    “Free office space opened up and they opened a local office for free.”

    Did they move existing staff from Springfield or add new heads for staffing? Did they add new office equipment or move existing equipment from Sprinfield? Are they plugged into local water, sewage, electricity, gas, etc. or are they plugged into a long conduit from Springfield?
    Only those who work for the government or get “freebies” from the government can consider anything of value to be “free”.

    So, please tell me what the bottom line is of this satellite and how it is being funded.

    Quinn and the agency boys still do not get what the concept of “essential” is.

  9. - the Patriot - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 1:24 pm:

    Memo: The “services” provided by the treasurers office are limited to a guy at the front desk that says, “we ain’t got any money to provide you with services.”

    Crack down Lisa, you wiley bandit you. Your pops is violating the constitution to the detriment of every Illinois citizen and you are going after lollapoolza. I can’t believe Obama overlooked her for Supreme Court. Somebody investigate that crime!

  10. - Lester Holt's Mustache - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 1:34 pm:

    “..and transportation reimbursement costs are all free too. Right?”

    It says right up there, they’ve saved money on travel costs.

    Also, I’d rather have them going into an office instead of working from home. How do I get one of those jobs? Anyone know how I can get grandfathered into one? Working from home sounds like fun!

  11. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 1:37 pm:

    ===Working from home sounds like fun! ===

    Only someone who doesn’t work out of their home would say that.

  12. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 1:37 pm:

    - Quinn and the agency boys still do not get what the concept of “essential” is. -

    Do you see Quinn’s name in this story? Why don’t you try reading and notice that this is the office of the Treasurer.

  13. - Vole - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 1:37 pm:

    “Since the first satellite office opened in 2007, we’ve saved nearly $30,000 in travel/operating costs. We are constantly looking for ways to do more with less.”

    Show me. Document it.

  14. - Lester Holt's Mustache - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 1:40 pm:

    “Only someone who doesn’t work out of their home would say that.”

    Only someone who never worked in an open office full of annoying imbeciles like I do would say that :)

  15. - Vole - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 1:46 pm:

    “Do you see Quinn’s name in this story? Why don’t you try reading and notice that this is the office of the Treasurer.”

    No. But Quinn’s name is at the head of the mast. And Quinn is the governor and candidate who said that the state needs to eliminate all nonessential programs and spending. That is the point.

  16. - Lester Holt's Mustache - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 1:52 pm:

    Forgive my ignorance if I’m wrong, but doesn’t this money that would be spent on electricity and whatever “outreach literature” is, come out of the treasurer’s budget? Once the legislature allocates it to the treasurer’s office, they decide how to spend it, right? I don’t think Quinn, Governor or candidate, has anything to do with it besides signing the overall budget.

    Is that right?

  17. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 1:53 pm:

    I have never had a need to visit the State Treasurer, have you? (Longtime resident and former small business owner)

  18. - Responsa - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 2:15 pm:

    Gotta give Kos credit for putting it all out there. Unfortunately, being “taken” by a polling company is not all that uncommon, I’d bet. Any one who’s ever been deeply involved with consumer or marketing research knows that the polling company and/or focus group leaders seem to have the uncanny ability of knowing what the hiring organization wants to hear and then providing it.

  19. - muon - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 2:19 pm:

    The pollster may have fabricated the data, but given the inconsistencies in the report, this could also be due to lazy or sloppy statistical analysis. A client would be wise to ask for some specific methodology, even with a non-disclosure agreement, just to avoid this type of problem.

  20. - bored now - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 2:21 pm:

    Cincinnatus: well, since we already know that you’re on the internet, i can’t foresee a need for you to visit the state treasurer, either. i know it’s tough to imagine people who aren’t like you, but not everybody can search the treasurer’s office online for their unclaimed property/money. let’s just pretend that you believe that every resident of illinois should have equal access to their government…

  21. - Loop Lady - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 2:22 pm:

    I think I know why the Treasurer’s office is such a mess with these two dolts “in charge”…

    unethical?unprofitable? who cares?

  22. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 2:36 pm:

    - No. But Quinn’s name is at the head of the mast. And Quinn is the governor and candidate who said that the state needs to eliminate all nonessential programs and spending. That is the point. -

    Ahhh, the Otter defense. I always enjoy a little Animal House humor in the afternoon.

  23. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 2:45 pm:

    ==The pollster may have fabricated the data, but given the inconsistencies in the report, this could also be due to lazy or sloppy statistical analysis. A client would be wise to ask for some specific methodology, even with a non-disclosure agreement, just to avoid this type of problem.

    No, it cannot be due to sloppy statistics. That’s the point of having 776 matching pairs out of 778. It’s theoretically possible, but at such a low percentage that is, in itself, evidence of fraud.

    Sloppy statistics or bad sampling or any number of mere mistakes that might be malpractice, but not fraud, cannot account for that. Someone is cooking the data and doing it intentionally.

  24. - muon - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 2:58 pm:

    ArchPundit, I’ll give you an example to illustrate how bad technique can give this type of result.

    Let me start with the favorable response for the whole population. Now suppose I first find my favorable percentage for the whole sample and round it to the nearest whole number percent. Then, I take the percent difference between the men and women, divide by two, and round it to the nearest percent. If the difference between the number of men and women in the sample is small compared to the total number of men and women this works within the rounding error. Now I apply that percent I found and either add or subtract it to the favorable percent for the total to get the percent for each subsample. Since I added the whole number to get one sample and subtracted it to get the other sample the difference between the two subsamples will be an even whole number.

    Two whole numbers that differ by an even number will be either both even or both odd. That is what happened to R 2000’s data. My example is one possible explanation. This doesn’t rule out fraud, but fraud is not a certainty based on the analysis in the report.

  25. - cassandra - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 3:17 pm:

    Why do we assume that people who work out of their homes must be getting away with something. So retro. I work out of my home and so do two of my twentysomething children who work for different companies (full time, with benefits etc). It has advantages for us (less commuting time) but our employers save huge amounts over time on rent, utilities, and other expenses.

    The correct question might be why do we taxpayers spend (tens? hundreds?) of millions in rent annually, just so politically connected landlords can live rich?

    And of course Alexi will use this opportunity to add “management” staff for each new office. For some reason, even though it’s the 21st century,
    and virtually all office workers are connected to a computer, they all need expensive on-site management. Especially in state government, where it’s somebody else’s paying for all this supervision.

  26. - bored now - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 3:23 pm:

    cassandra: my understanding is that the satellite offices are staffed by current employees who remain at their current positions…

  27. - Vole - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 3:32 pm:

    “Ahhh, the Otter defense. I always enjoy a little Animal House humor in the afternoon.”

    Just get to my point. The quip I made about Quinn is tangential. Are all these programs of the Treasury essential or not? And in this time of budget crisis, is it not time to trim the sails of all offices, departments, and agencies?

  28. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 3:42 pm:

    - The quip I made about Quinn is tangential. -

    Wrong, its misleading. Quinn is working on cuts as we speak. There is a story on the blog today about it. This post has nothing to do with Quinn, as much as you would like to tie him to it.

  29. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 3:42 pm:

    You have just described fraud. That’s not bad technique–it’s an invalid way of dealing with aggregated data. The point of releasing the cross tabs is to show the underlying percentages as based on the raw numbers not to force a structure on the data.

    If they were to do such a practice, they would have to disclose that to clients–they did not in this case and for a fairly understandable reason–no one would take them seriously.

  30. - muon - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 4:00 pm:

    What I have described is bad use of rounding. In my example the numbers are good to 2 percent, rather than 1 percent which is implied by the use of whole numbers. However the margin of error was typically 4 percent, so the pollster could claim that either 1 percent or 2 percent error on the figures was within the overall polling margin of error. The fraud is in our perception that a whole number is accurate to that unit, when other statistical facts also bear on the interpretation.

  31. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 4:24 pm:

    There is no justification to open a satellite office for the State Treasurer at this time other than political. This from the guy whose family bank flopped by backing real estate waste like this. You would think Broadway Bank’s problems would have taught Giannoulais the dangers of overextending during an economic downturn.

  32. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 4:32 pm:

    ===The fraud is in our perception that a whole number is accurate to that unit, when other statistical facts also bear on the interpretation.

    The fraud isn’t in our perception, the fraud is in not using proper technique. When you hire a professional firm an expectation is that they conform to industry standards. RK2000 is a member of AAPOR and such ‘decision’ is outside any professional norm.

    The defense you just put on makes it even worse. Adding 1 or 2 percent error is in addition to the moe not simply within it. Any pollster to make that defense would be laughed at. The +/- MOE is about the sample size and and how much natural variance there is assuming a truly random sample. Even then, with 95% confidence, the error will be out of that MOE 1 in 20 times. Now, they would be adding 1 or 2 percent error for each gender by misusing aggregated data.

  33. - muon - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 5:10 pm:

    If their error is rounding, then that would be negligence. The article originally cited suggests a possible fraud due to fabricated numbers. I suggest that it could be negligence without the intent to defraud.

    We agree that as a practice what was done was bad. But the types of error you cite do not add linearly, so conclusions about the effect of multiple error sources need to be taken with care. For instance, there are other sources of error in the data due to sampling technique that are not reflected in the MOE, but that does not invalidate the use of the MOE to reflect sample size. This happens in professional polls all the time.

    As to my suggested defense, I can technically use units that have a precision within my margin of error. That includes using whole numbers or even numbers. If my statistical error was large enough I could round to the nearest 5 and be still be OK with that choice of unit.

  34. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 6:45 pm:

    If this “satellite office” is anything like the one AA visited in a Chicago suburb awhile back, you have cupla desks/chairs, a computer, a nice foto of ‘Lexi on the wall and his name on the door. No staff, no visitors, locked door; if someone just wanted “self-service” (get the Bright Start forms or something like that) all the brochures and forms were locked up behind the pretty glass door. What a crock.

  35. - thewatchdog - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 9:37 pm:



    That’s right Seniors, prepare to be part of the Chicago political machine come voting time - especially since the Senior Center is an EARLY POLLING PLACE!

    Perhaps Courtney Raker’s from Jay Hoffman’s Office will continue to advertise *”Robin’s Run”* on STATE TIME to the public, from STATE PHONES - that actually incurr a cost to the public in this FREE (yeah right) OFFICE.

    And the vote-getting piggy banks - those were paid for by the STATE, but no big deal ; they are FREE VOTE-GETTING TOOLS.

    Grow some morals and get out of the Senior Center before it opens as a POLLING PLACE. Did you know that Rich Miller? Was it part of the pretty explanation from the Treasurer’s Office?

    By they way, maybe you should ask how many people actually seek service from these satellite offices - not many, not nearly enough to justify their existence.

  36. - sto wife - Tuesday, Jun 29, 10 @ 10:39 pm:

    if you think the satellite offices are bad, you should talk to my hubby in the Springfield office - for those of you who know what i mean!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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