Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Ambiguity of Political Polling

There's a lot of polls regarding the upcomong election lately; it seems that many organization or newspaper has its own poll.   What to make of this?

First off, there's the question of validity.  A poll, by its nature, will be based on a small subset of the possible voters in the election.  How random or representative is the poll?  That makes a big difference.  Some people might be hesitant to disclose their thinking, for valid or less reasons.

Some polls, including online polls, have another purpose, though.  Rather than passively measure opinion or possible voting patterns, these attempt to shape how individuals think or vote by the choice of wording.  After all, both major parties have their own polling.  This is not for idle curiosity!

Telephone pollers are a special pain in the butt.  I refuse to answer any questions, whether from a caller or some online source because I like keeping the bastards in the dark!


  1. So telephone pollers are only getting answers from a subset of people that like to take telephone poles.

  2. Polsters find out the opinions of those who are home.

  3. Information about your opinion is a commodity. If they want it, they should have to pay for it.

  4. I agree with the phone polls. None of their business. Then again, when poll numbers are reported, I always say, "well, they didn't ask me!"