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View Poll Results: Do you believe in the power of polls?
Yes, polls are an accurate source and reflection on public opinion 1 6.67%
Polls are fairly useful, good for getting a pretty good idea of something 1 6.67%
Polls are somewhat handy. Prone to many errors, can be a nice guideline in some cases 10 66.67%
No, they are inaccurate and I dont believe in them 3 20.00%
Voters: 15. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-17-2003, 10:35 AM   #1
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On Polls

I've thought about this every time a debate arises in here and in the media over results of some 'latest poll' and every time I squirm at the blanket statements they seem to allow. I personally put pretty much zero faith in most of them, particularly on political issues. I've got 2 major problems with them 1 being the number used in any sample, usually only maybe 1000-2000 or so respondants. That is in no way an accurate reflection on what the general populous thinks, especially in a country like America where you have something like 260 million people and only a select percentage of those caring enough to even be registered voters. Who exactly are these polls targeting anyway to ask these questions?
The second problem I have is the way in which these are conducted. As anyone knows, how these things are worded is paramount and often we see a poorly put together bunch of possibilities which is vague or misleading.
Polls can't honestly be taken as a serious source for opinion in my view. Its too easy to get skewed or inaccurate results and the sample is too particular in most cases to give any fair representation.

So just for laughs, I am making this a poll. Please vote accordingly so we can get a fair and just idea of what FYM as a whole thinks of polling data.

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Old 10-17-2003, 10:45 AM   #2
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Polls are crap. Anyone with the right amount of intelligence can word the right questions and poll the right people to get the results they want.

In a political science class I once took a poll of sorts to see where the class fit in the political spectrum. Well the results came back and overwhelmingly 90% of the class was classified as Libertarian. We were all a little shocked until we were finally told it was a poll designed by the Libertarian party.

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Old 10-17-2003, 10:45 AM   #3
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Polls are agenda driven tools of politics and the media. There are many ways to tinker with a poll to get the answer you want.

If found the polls during the CA recall particularly amusing, especially those manufactured by the LA Times.
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Old 10-17-2003, 12:04 PM   #4
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Everybody will remember a poll they did not like when thinking about this question.

For the most part polls are useful and helpful.

Push polls are one of the lowest forms of politics.

An example is what happened to McCain in the GOP primaries in 2000.

It went something like this.

1. Do you feel positive or negative about Sen. McCain?

2. How would you feel if you learned the Sen. McCain fathered an illegitimate child with a black prostitute?

3. Would you be less likely to support him?

A poll? like this was used in Southern states. McCain was campaigning with his wife and children. One of his children is a very dark little girl adopted from an orphanage Mother Teresa ran in Indian.

I an sure the left uses push polls also. The above just comes to mind as a clear example and one more reason why I think Karl Rove is of low character.
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Old 10-17-2003, 12:47 PM   #5
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I don't think we need a poll to tell us Karl Rove is of low character. LOL. I think polls that are conducted by independent sources, or even fairly independent, are useful and fairly accurate.

Think about the CA election polls. In the final weeks it was Schwarzenegger around 40%, Bustamonte around 30%, and Mclintock around 15%. This pretty much came to pass except for the fact (which was foreseen) that a lot of Mclintock people jumped ship at the end and voted for Arnold.

So while the numbers weren't right on, they did give a good idea of what was going to happen.
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Old 10-17-2003, 01:34 PM   #6
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Polls aren't that great. They don't show when people are "soft" supporters of a candidate or issue. The same person who tells a pollster "yes" on something this week may change their mind and be a "no" vote when the poll that matters--the election--comes around.
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Old 10-17-2003, 02:20 PM   #7
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social statistics
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Old 10-17-2003, 06:15 PM   #8
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well, I've studied to become a public accountant and even I was taught how to set up a poll to get the results you want to get

main difference being that we were taught this to be aware of how to put together a neutral poll instead of abusing certain facts on how to influence people

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