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Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016

This Blog Polling Everyone In America!

Posted Thursday, July 17, 2008, at 8:05 AM

In the 1948 Presidential election all the public opinion Polls said New York Governor Dewey would win. It was assured, probably a landslide; nobody could beat the unpopular President Truman. It was said not even Truman's Vice-Presidential candidate thought he'd be elected. As the Polls had it Truman should be packing, not campaigning.

The Polls were wrong.

There is a very famous photo of Truman holding up a copy of the New York Times with the banner headline "Dewey Wins!" They say opinion polls have become much more sophisticated since then. Sure, if you say so.

of TV viewing over a two-week period. It came with three brand-new $1 bills; and being an honest person wanting to earn the money, I filled out the forms. This happened to come during the summer Olympics, of which I have never been a particular fan. My wife couldn't be bothered with the paper work (and hadn't gotten the money!), so I filled out her side for her using my own preferences. By my calculations this meant than 10 million more people watched "Law and Order" than Olympic swimming in 2000.

During the recent primary campaign I answered one survey call:

Would I vote for a certain candidate? Yes.

Would I be willing to put up a yard sign for him? Yes.

Would I like to donate to his campaign? Now I know why they called.

Some things about polling really intrigue me.

If 56 percent think one candidate is better than another, how many people were polled? I've seen numbers below 1,000 being put forward as representing the opinion of all Americans.

If 56 percent of people 65 or over prefer one candidate over another, do I change my vote because I'll turn 65 two weeks before the next election?

And, how much of these poll "results" are self-fulfilling prophecies? Would either of the presumptive Presidential candidates have gotten this far if some Poll or another hadn't said they were preferred by 56 percent of everybody in America (meaning less than 1,000 people)?

In the past three years the big thing has become on-line "Polls". These allow anybody to respond, and to do so as often as they like. One suspects these polls are not as scientific as those predicting Dewey over Truman, but they are very popular.

We're told one performer is worth $1 million because 56 percent of "America" think they sing, dance or whatever better than anyone else in America. Or, that the Chicago Cubs are better than the St. Louis Cardinals because of some Poll (oops, sorry, that last one is true).

Truth is all the on-line polls tell us is a percent of opinions among people who (1) have computers, (2) have an opinion to which no one else will listen, and (3) have nothing much better to do. Such results should be reported for what they are: raw numbers. It is not 56 percent who believe in eating Bluwaps on Sunday, it's 12 people.

So, this Blog is taking a Poll. Anyone may respond who has a computer, happens to see this Blog, wants to express their self, and has time to bother. It is GUARANTEED the results of this Poll WILL reflect the opinion of all Americans everywhere (actual numbers responding will be ignored -- usually less than 5 -- only percents reported).


Results of this Poll, reflecting the opinion of everyone in America with a car, to be posted as some later date -- if they agree with me.

David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at kayanddavid@joink.com.

Showing comments in chronological order
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Polls are based on statistical analysis of responses to specific questions by a mathematical number of responders determined to be at least the minimum number that could be representative of the total population being polled. In theory, they represent the inclination of the population, in practice; we know that they are often wrong. As polls involve the use of statistics, the oft used quote of Mark Twain (although he attributed it to Disraeli in his autobiography) that "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics" also applies to polls. I classify people who base decisions on polls alone or even place significant import on polls when making decisions as fools of the highest caliber.

Pollsters know that the results of a poll can be skewed by many things, among which are how the question is asked, the choice of responses offered, and who is asked.

In response to your poll question, my answer is NO. I would like to PREFER THAT GASOLINE RETURN TO 28 CENTS PER GALLON…………………..LOL

-- Posted by FlyinLion on Sat, Jul 19, 2008, at 12:02 PM

Flyin Lion is correct. Even the Local Brazil Times polls don't always give the choice I would choose so I cannot answer without commenting to explain my response.

To this one, No. To reduce price of petroleum products that much would not drive us to seek out alternative sources of transportation, such as more fuel efficient vehicles and mass transportation. We started to do this when gas went over $1 a gallon in the 70's and caused a "crisis" but forgot about it too quickly and went back to large vehicles and additional lost support for mass transit investment. Only if we tax privately owned gas guzzling vehicles as we do with other luxury items [such as jewelry], would lowering gas prices really do any good and encourage people to buy a car for its original intended use, transportation. Not a status symbol.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Mon, Jul 21, 2008, at 6:49 AM

LOL...........after reading Jenny's comment, I find that I want to change mine because what she said makes a great deal of sense, but I didn't think of it when I answered.

Does that make polls more or less reliable?

-- Posted by FlyinLion on Mon, Jul 21, 2008, at 11:29 AM

Come to think of it.... I have to say that my answer is still NO, for Jenny's reasoning even though I cannot ride across town in a car. They sit to low and put my legs to sleep in about ten minutes. I drive one of two vehicles, a full-sized pick-up or a mid-sized SUV. Believe me, I don't do it for status or gas mileage, I do it because I can get out of them and still be able to walk. That helps when you are grocery shopping. I use them as little as possible, who doesn't anymore, and try to get as much done as possible when I do get in them.

-- Posted by FlyinLion on Mon, Jul 21, 2008, at 1:12 PM

I would like to see gas prices at $1. I know the altruistic answer is Jenny's answer and I respect it and agree in theory. But I'm sick of paying $150 just to go see my parents! And I don't see us as a country doing a thing about alternative energy or mass public transportation in the very near future...but I'd love to be proved wrong.

-- Posted by sdskelton on Wed, Aug 6, 2008, at 8:07 AM

Oops, that was supposed to be logged in under lawyersusan. Sorry.

-- Posted by sdskelton on Wed, Aug 6, 2008, at 8:07 AM

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