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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Our Poll on National Polls: Do you trust them?

gallup poll logo and espn logo

We love lists and we love polls- at least, that's what the media believes.

You may remember when I analyzed America's fascination with lists,and judging from the massive amount of time and space dedicated to the national polls, the media must be convinced that there's a high demand  for the latest stats and trends from the general public.

As the election enters its final stretch, cable news networks, political blogs and newspapers bombard daily us with the latest results from national polls. Whether you're a political junkie or not, you've seen the names,numbers and trends from surveyors such as,Zogby,Rasmussen and Gallup.

 One site that has gained plenty of exposure during the past year is,, which combines the data from all of the major polls for the "RCP average". For politicians,  the national polls function as unofficial focus groups that offer accurate gauge of the public's viewpoint.

For the data analysts and advisors who scrutinize the numbers as close as possible, the  subcategories in national polls can reveal crucial data for each candidate. I.E.- "Who do you trust more with the economy?", or, "Who do you trust in international affairs."

Evidently, polls have legitimate power. We can't even escape surveys and polls when we're just trying to get customer service. It seems like almost every time I call for assistance with a product or service, I'm asked to participate in a voluntary survey.The answers we giveprovide the same insightful figures to corporate executives and marketers that politicians and their advisers scrutinize each day.

Polls are also interwoven into our sources entertainment as interactive features. Just visit and you'll see at least two instant surveys, including Sports Nation, which asks sports fans hot topic questions such as: "Which NCAA football team deserves to be #1 in the Bowl Championship Rankings?"

So what's reasoning behind the power of polls? I believe the answer is similar to why we're so fascinated with lists- both provide a sense of order  in a chaotic, unpredictable world. Considering that fact, it's only natural to wonder if all these results are significant or skewed.

You may agree with the quote: "Numbers are like hostages, if you manipulate them enough, you can get them to say what you want."

We're using Polldaddy to ask you:


By Matt O'Hern at 08:09 AM | Comments (0)

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