For some reason, Americans love polls. We make very big decisions based on what we think everyone else is doing or going to do. I guess people don’t like to be ‘wrong’ even if wrong means doing what they believe in.
Gallup and others got very good at scientific polling. While traditional polls are often quite wrong when question bias or moving issues are at stake, they got pretty good at measuring conventional wisdom.
The web changes this. It changes this because polls done on the web are as far from scientific as possible (they don’t even measure what the web thinks, never mind what everyone thinks) yet they are shrouded in the same respectability, the same graphs, the same nomenclature.
A web poll is nothing but a traffic stunt.
Which makes this note from Allen Wastler at CNBC so ridiculous. They ran a gimmicky poll, the results didn’t turn out the way they wanted so they took it down and snarkily blamed those that voted in the poll.
Polls aren’t going to go away. They make great traffic bait. But they are clearly sliding from their position of trust. (Which is just fine with me).