A poll is defined as “a sampling or collection of opinions on a subject, taken from either a selected or random group of persons, as for the purpose of analysis. An opinion is defined as “a belief or judgement that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty. So Polls are nothing more than a sampling of pre-selected opinions that are designed to give people unsound beliefs.
Have you ever noticed how polls can be used to sway public opinion? If you ask 10 people in Los Angeles their opinion on issue X, then you ask 10 different people in Omaha the same question. How much will their answers vary? If the answers given by the people in Omaha are the correct answers, as per the group who fashioned the poll, can the poll state, x of 10 Americans think a certain way? Even though you only asked 10 people in a cherry-picked location the question, you could craft the poll to suit your needs.
For example, the cigarette adds of a bygone era would suggest that a poll was taken and more doctors smoked camel than any other cigarette. Well, how can they claim that? Did they ask all doctors? No, they might have asked a small portion of doctors at the very least. If they ran into doctors who didn’t prefer camel, would they just keep asking doctors until they came to their desired answer? Maybe.
And yet, a lot of people still believe there is some truth to polls. And as the old proverb goes…
“Half the truth is often a great lie.”–Benjmain Franklin.
Do we honestly believe all polls are created with honest intentions? If we do not, then the credibility of all polls should be questioned. Polls about politics and important issues especially deserve to be at least questioned, if not ignored. The bottom line is, a poll is not news. Most polls for public consumption are created to plant a seed in a person who might have been on the fence about an issue. If they see the “results” of a poll right before an important decision is to be made, well, they could think to themselves… “Gee, this group thinks this way, and I want to identify with that group, therefore I will think that way as well.” Polls kill critical thinking. It gives people an easy answer for something that usually needs to be thought about. Thinking does a mind good.