Polls vs Polls vs Reality

The nice news in the Phi Delt Kappan poll on education is that after an unprecedented onslaught from the media, columnists (see Friedman’s column in today’s NYT) movies, TV shows and on and on–going back a decade or more, about half those polled are with us and half against us–or in-between. But more important is realizing how critical wording is. Had the public been asked “should schools owned by private groups, religious organization or corporations be funded by public monies?” what would the polls demonstrate? Or if we added “operated for profit” somewhere in there?

I was reminded of how deceptive polls can be by looking more closely at a headline in today’s NY Times; “Bicycle Lanes Draw Wide Support Among City Residents , Survey Says.” Read further and it turns out that between 31-47% of the respondents acknowledged that they know “nothing at all” about bike lanes! http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/08/21/nyregion/new-yorkers-views-of-bike-lanes.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha29_20120822

2 Responses

  1. I wish someone asked me about the bike lanes. I would have set their ears on fire. Polls are a sham and everyone knows it, but because the media keeps reporting them we have become ‘addicted” to reading and believing them.

  2. Often it isn’t the poll itself that is inaccurate, but the way it is reported, and especially the headlines!

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