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Old 05-25-2004, 12:01 AM   #1
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Polls

I have a very sincere question. What do polls mean anymore?

#1 Polls can be designed and worded to obtain a certain result.

#2 Many polls today are obtained by internet information, how much of the nations population are connected? What about the poor, the senior citizens, or those who are polling and can't vote?

#3 Polls that are executed over the phone are in question too. With the invention of "caller ID" how much of the population are picking up their calls when an unrecognized number is calling in?

#4 With the exception to a few internet polls, I haven't been asked to participate in one damn poll since I was 18.

What meaning can we put into our polls these days? Can a poll really give us an identifier as to what the nation is thinking?
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Old 05-25-2004, 12:18 AM   #2
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My view of "opinion polls" and other such "information" is neatly summed up by I believe Mark Twain...

There are three kinds of falsehoods...
Lies
Damned lies
and Statistics.
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Old 05-25-2004, 05:35 AM   #3
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polls can be useful to indicate trends
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Old 05-25-2004, 09:42 AM   #4
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Polls can be very misleading too. Like if it's an AOL poll, it's obviously people who are online, but it doesn't count people who don't have computers or don't use AOL. That means about 80% of old people are ignored, and old people are a big voting block, even more than the young. I heard a story once that in the 1930's, somebody who was running against FDR was supposed to defeat him easily, people said, because a poll in some magazine had him far ahead. I don't remember the name of the guy who ran or the magazine, but the thing was, it was a magazine for rich old people, and so few younger or poor people were polled, and they mostly went for FDR, who won easily. It matters who you ask, and how you ask.

Still, despite all this, the polls in the last 20 years have been pretty close to being right, especially exit polls. That's how the networks have been able to accurately determine who takes what state and project a winner so early, dating back to the time of Ronald Reagan. Well, other than that 2000 Florida blunder where they gave it to Gore, took it back, gave it to Bush, took it back, and they rest is sordid history I bet they won't be so fast to declare states this time
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Old 05-25-2004, 09:54 AM   #5
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polls need to cover a very large audience if you want to see anything interesting.

i dislike them.
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Old 05-25-2004, 10:46 AM   #6
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Pools can be useful to indicate trends, or create trends.

Polling organizations play as much a roll in shaping public opinion as they do measuring public opinion.

As has been stated, it all how you ask the questions.
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Old 05-25-2004, 05:12 PM   #7
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as with many other things valuable, they can be dangerous.
as with many other things dangerous, they can be valuable.

it is the responsibility, and in the best interests of, a media to ensure that polling statistics relayed to the public are topical, timely and accurate. this ideal is all too often circumvented.
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Old 05-25-2004, 05:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Pools can be useful to indicate trends, or create trends.

Polling organizations play as much a roll in shaping public opinion as they do measuring public opinion.

As has been stated, it all how you ask the questions.
nbc posted a very similar response to a very similar thread months ago. the thread is linked in the similar threads below.

consistency
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Old 05-25-2004, 11:18 PM   #9
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Polls if done reliably and scientifically can give an accurate gage of how a group of people or even a country feel about something.

Respected news organizations and polling firms have done excellent jobs at predicting elections and other trends in societies. If Polls were so unreliable, no political party, in any country, would pay any attention to them.
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Old 05-26-2004, 03:42 AM   #10
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We have a federal election coming up sometime later this year, so there's a lot of opinion polls floating around. However most of them I've noticed only survey around 1000 people randomly. If they're not covering a good cross section of the community (young, old, rich, poor, and everyone in between) then I don't think they should be taken as seriously as they are.

Interestingly, though, the Brisbane paper does a street poll everyday, asking 4 people in the same place their opinion on a particular subject, and I hardly ever see a similar reaction between the people. Maybe that's done on purpose though (like they actually ask many more people and just pick out the best answers?) which is just another problem with polls.
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Old 05-26-2004, 04:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Pools can be useful to indicate trends, or create trends.
yep
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