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Public Polling Problems

I know that many of you with full version blogs use polling WordPress Plugins to test your audience’s knowledge and opinions.

Evangelical Outpost has written and interesting article on “The Problem with Public Opinion Polls” which is worth reading if you take your online polls seriously.

The primary defect of opinion polls is that they promote slip-shod reasoning. Take, for instance, two of the worst types of polls, those that purportedly measure “favorability” and “job approval rating” of politicians such as the President and Congress. Such polls might be useful if the general public (a) knew what the actual job of the President and Congress entails and (b) had a set of standards by which to make an objective determination of their competency. But they don’t. Which is why they are dangerous tools.

…Unless the poll is taken at, say, the University of Chicago’s Economics Department, the likelihood of meeting this standard is depressingly low. Because the people surveyed have no reliable criteria for forming their opinion on this issue, they tend to “go with their gut”, relying on emotion and intuition.

Most bloggers aren’t seeking statistical facts from their polls. They just enjoy providing an interactive relationship with their readers. Still, if you want to have some credit with your audience, a good look at the tips and advice in this article on how to frame an intelligent question to get an intelligent response might make this a worthwhile read.


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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network

Member of the 9Rules Blogging Network

One Comment

  1. Posted December 11, 2006 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Opinion polls is a measurement tools for a state of mind. You could add questions which will test the knowledge of the subjects in the knowledge domain, and add value to the opinion, but that adds nothing.

    Let us say you ask people about a service provider. Unless the people asked have in fact used all service provider and made accurate measurements of the service, you can say that the survey is meaningless. However, it does provide a subjective view of the clients which can show not only satisfaction rates, but also what needs to be highlighted for the public to knowledgeably answer the questions.


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