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Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Vey To The Survey

Why do people still believe that we should seriously consider online polls? As the war in Lebanon heats up, I have been getting some emails telling me to vote in this online poll and that online poll in favour of Israel because after all "it is important to let the world know" and that my voting "can make a difference". I even got an email (actually two copies from different people) asking me to phone "Dubya" at the White House (gave the phone number, not toll free) to let him know about how we appreciate his support of Israel. And now there is even a desktop widget that, among other things, alerts people to online polls about Israel. Now, I, of course, support Israel. However, what people do not seem to realize is that online polls, even when conducted by major outlets such as CNN, are pointless. They are pointless for two reasons: - They are statistically meaningless. Any statistisian will tell you that to get a real statistic they have to take a random sampling of the general population. They can never solicit people to volunteer information on their own. - Online polls can be easily doctored. In fact, that is essentially why I am getting the email in the first place. To turn the tide in favour of Israel. Media companies who want to report what people's opinion really is hire independent reputable survey companies and then report their findings. So, I think I'll express my support for Israel, but not in this way. Update: Classmate Wearing Yarmulka has the same peeve.

1 Comments:

  • Okay, I'm adding an update to that post. People don't realize what this thing is all about, and their poor screenshot choice is the problem.

    By Blogger Ezzie, at 2:58 PM  

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