Author Comment    
Rosa Renard

Apr 19, 05 - 3:37 PM
Opinion Polls

ArenÕt opinion polls pestiferous? I admit to being rather fascinated by their supposed revelation of what other people think, but I canÕt help feeling that they are bogus. Whether deliberately or carelessly, the pollsters may have selected a group with a bias or the questions may be weighted so as to ÔforceÕ an answer, as conjurers can invisibly force cards. Some polls, I have heard, are carefully balanced so as to be ÔrepresentativeÕ, but such a construction must surely be influenced by personal views of what is typical. Many polls, though, are not. When people are approached on the street, for example, it will be those walking more slowly or who look more patient or less purposeful who will be caught. In postal and telephone polls, the participants are partly or entirely self-selected, which may mean that they are bored or have an axe to grind. Furthermore, a snap opinion might quite well be different from a considered opinion. Similarly, when a yes or no answer is required, as sometimes in court, the matter may just be too complex to be reduced to that. Even this assumes that people are giving a truthful answer rather than an expected, fashionable, judicious or deliberately provocative one.

Apart from advertisers and speech-makers, who want to play on peopleÕs feelings and change their minds, why should anyone care what other people think? One would hope that knowing would not influence anyoneÕs own opinion, one way or the other. Either to think, Òall those people canÕt be wrong - it must be me,Ó or ÒHow appalling to have a common opinion; I must change it,Ó would be rather absurd. Some peopleÕs opinions do change as regularly as the wind, affected by influence or argument, personal experiences or current events; that I suppose is the difference between modern opinions and sound beliefs based on fundamental principles.
sweet Jutta

Apr 19th, 2005 - 4:55 PM
Re: Opinion Polls

To my opinion, such polls are not at all executed in order to find out what people think and then to change things accordingly in order to improve people«s lives or make them feel better.

There are 2 reasons only why one is usually doing an opinion poll:
1. To maximize profit by finding out what goods or services would sell better while simultaneously increse the margin.
2. To gain or maintain power by adapting ones behaviours in such way that one is elected or re-elected to a powerful mandate.

How much better could a world look if satisfaction of needs and responsible appointment would take the place of 1. and 2.?

Miss Serena

Apr 21st, 2005 - 11:21 PM
Re: Opinion Polls

It would be if it could be so but being as things are it would not be so - no, that was meant to be Shakespearean but it didn't quite come off, did it? Given the state of affairs, I think I would rather someone try to sell me stuff or buy my vote than offer to satisfy my needs and improve the world. Alarm bells ring! Of course, in an ideal world... well, everything could just be let be.
Isabel Trent

Apr 22nd, 2005 - 8:25 AM
Re: Opinion Polls

I once lived under a government that quite literally ruled according to opinion polls, to the point of calling a general election several months early in order to take advantage of an unexpected upswing. It is a quiet comfort to know that they will be knocked out of office later this year by a chap with whom I once shared a companionable bowl of ice cream.

All the same, electioneering is a filthy business. The Aristasian system is much saner -- as usual.