Monday, April 04, 2005

Wording of a Poll

Patterico's Pontifications reports How the Wording of a Poll Can Skew the Outcome

I recently noted that polls, purporting to show Americans’ disapproval of Congress’s actions in the Schiavo case, were “push polls” that first gave the arguments for killing Schiavo (omitting any contrary arguments), and only then asked respondents for their opinion.

Michelle Malkin reports that the Zogby poll has asked a very different set of questions, and – surprise, surprise – received a very different set of answers.

How polls ask a question has everything to do with the outcome. If you believe a poll result without looking at how the questions were asked, you’re a sucker.

A push poll is a series of calls, masquerading as a public-opinion poll, in which people who support a particular candidate offer negative information about a rival candidate, or as the NCPP said A "Push Poll" is [not a poll at all but] a telemarketing technique in which telephone calls are used to canvass vast numbers of potential voters, feeding them false and damaging "information" about a candidate under the guise of taking a poll to see how this "information" effects voter preferences. In fact, the intent is to "push" the voters away from one candidate and toward the opposing candidate. This is clearly political telemarketing, using innuendo and, in many cases, clearly false information to influence voters; there is no intent to conduct research.

These telemarketing techniques damage the electoral process in two ways. They injure candidates, often without revealing the source of the information. Also, the results of a "Push Poll", if released, give a seriously flawed and biased picture of the political situation.

Don't believe ANY poll unless they also show you the questions that were asked.

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