Opinion polls are a device for influencing public opinion, not for measuring it. Most pollsters don’t even bother to survey cellphone only households (comprising a large percentage of poor people, minorities and young people under 40). Those that do rely on biased pro-business cellphone numbers. See The Tyranny of Opinion Polls
The Mail on Sunday columnist, christian and Burkean Conservative, Peter Hitchens, has said:
“Opinion polls are a device for influencing public opinion, not a device for measuring it. Crack that, and it all makes sense.”
I don’t agree with Hitchens on much, but he is right about this.
In his book The Broken Compass, Hitchens informs us that opinion polls are actually a device for influencing public opinion. He says that the establishment and the media are responsible for this manipulation, based on the misuse of statistics. The overall purpose is to “bring about the thing it claims is already happening”.
The author cites contemporary examples of the media attacking Gordon Brown and the “predicted” win of the Conservative Party at the 2010 general election, although Hitchens also described Brown, as a “dismal Marxoid“. Hitchens’ comments are based on his time as a reporter at…
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I have never paid attention to any polls because I figure that the pollsters are biased and are aiming their questions at those who they know what answers they will get from them. Why would a conservative thinktank go out of its way to poll liberals and vice versa? And believe me, with the surveillance state we live under, everything is known about us, from our political stance to what toilet paper we prefer and so it is not a stretch to consider that when polled, the pollsters know who they are polling. And then again, they can also just ‘make shit up’.
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Doesn’t surprise me a bit, Shelby, that you have your head on straight about this. Based on what I see around me, though, sometimes I feel incredibly discouraged about the way so many people take them seriously. I also find it really interesting that I never got rung once (in 54 years) in the US about my political opinion. Here in New Zealand, I got rung exactly once. Do pollsters ever ring you for your opinion?
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“Do pollsters ever ring you for your opinion?”
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! You have got to be kidding! You know that’s a BIG “NO!”, right? LOL! I am the very last person who would get polled and I have both a cellphone and a landline, so go figure and I have had both for years too numerous to count and yet somehow, I’ve managed never to get polled. Not to change the subject but I’ve also only been called to jury duty once and that was in Baltimore at the turn of the century. As law-abiding as I am, I was never called for jury duty in Virginia, nor was I called for jury duty in Minnesota. I do suspect that since I am back in Baltimore, I will most definitely get called for jury duty. There ain’t that many folks here that ain’t seen the inside of a jail cell and I wish I was kidding, thus the serious need for jurors.