Unskewed Polls

Polls are advertising.  I have always wondered if it was possible to read polls and come to a reasonable conclusion about a matter.  You would think that in math, there’s right and wrong and that’s it; every math class I ever took had it that way.  But, then, I (as many others) recognized that in a survey (i.e., “poll”), you can ask a certain question or a question in a certain way or both of the above to a certain audience and get wildly different conclusions. And, since most thinking people recognize this, I really wonder what is the value of polls?  (Back to that in a minute.)

So, polls are now advertising.  A stated poll-result is now used to advertise for or against a candidate.  It isn’t that the data urges a conclusion one way or another; it is that the poll itself cannot but urge that simply because of the organization, the questions, the question order or the sampling.  Maybe they always were like this, but certainly now, you have to know the background of each polling organization in order to put their poll in context!  What a waste; that makes me chapped.

How can we not conclude that they have become like all the rest of the news media: slanted, used and mostly untrustworthy?  Here’s a website I just found:  www.unskewedpolls.com.  I don’t know what to believe about that website.  If you look at the ads and links and things it looks “right-leaning.”  It has the appearance of a DrudgeReport for polling, maybe?  Perhaps it actually samples polls from all over the spectrum and gives them equal time.

But why have polls lost their potential value and become just another place for candidates to advertise themselves?  The market.  That’s right: you and me.  You have to wonder why so many people and organizations are cranking out these skewed and mostly worthless polls day after day?  Well, it would be for their own commercial gain, no doubt.  And how does that come about?  You and I follow the link to the poll to gawk at what we want to see: Romney: UP!  Obama: UP!  Blah, blah, blah.  We seem to provide slanted pollsters the opportunity to peddle their wares.

I wish as a people all were more willing to get just the facts.

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