Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'm Taking A Poll

I'm taking a poll. What I want to know is have you ever been polled?

Seriously, are you one of these people that has actually been asked to participate in a poll. You know, the kind that are quoted daily in the media. Where someone actually calls you on the phone and asks if you will participate. Not the voluntary type that might appear in the sidebar of your favorite news site. I'm talking an official poll in which presumably a cross section of the population is being interviewed. The unbiased variety, if there is such a thing anymore.

I keep hearing the results of all these polls that are being taken yet no one asks me to participate.
How is that?

The number of polls are staggering. Gallup, Pew,  ReutersRasmussen, CBS/NewYorkTimes, CNN, Fox News, Time, Associated Press, NBC/WSJ, RealClearPolitics.  There is an entire industry based on taking the pulse of the public.

You would think I would get a call from at least one of them.  The thing is I don't know anyone who has been called either. So I want to know, who are these people that are being polled?

Having spent all those years mired in the world of Arbitron and Nielsen ratings I am aware of how small a sample is needed to determine the future fate of any one program, not to mention how much you get to charge for a commercial in it.

I also know that because I worked in the business I could never be included in that kind of research.  Which means  a whole industry of media employed individuals, from the IT department to the executive in charge of programming in the corner office is eliminated from most polling, unless of course they lie about their work experience.

A few months ago someone called wanting to know if I would participate in a survey. I was intrigued. It could be good research for my writing. But after a few questions one came up that eliminated me.
Have you now or ever worked for a media property?   My answer ended our conversation. My opinion  no longer counted.

But why  shouldn't my opinion be counted?  And how many others like me are eliminated from this overdose of opinion polling that is used to sway headlines and affect everything from the political climate to what shows are programmed?

I admit to not always picking up the phone when I see an 800# on my caller ID. And I would guess I am not alone in that regard. And what about those who are afraid to express their opinion, who believed in the idea that "Big Brother" may be checking long before the advent of technology and GPS tracking. Even if they are picking up that 800# they may be hanging up shortly after.

OK. I admit this might sound like a bit of rant, but hey, it's been raining for four days now and I am starting to miss the sun again. I'm entitled to a rant.  So pacify me. Tell me what you think. Take my poll. Post a comment or try out the new poll gadget from Blogger in my sidebar.  It's totally random. I swear.


Unknown said...

Hey, Joanne...

If you've never been included in one of those polls (non-online, if that's a word, or neologism), I've more than compensated with my personal participation.

I must get 2-3 solicitations on the phone a month and those are the ones that actually get through to me. (We can address later the fact that I'm on all of those "don't call" lists.)

Can I refer the next one to you?


PS Avidly follow your blog/column.

Pearl said...

Yes! I was once part of an ABC news political poll during the '08 Presidential Campaign.

The thing that irks me about these polls is the fact that they poll, say, 1000 people, and then call that representative of the entire nation. Gah...that sample size is quite frankly statistically insignificant, yet they are quoted as if they are the FINAL SAY in the opinions of Americans.

Unknown said...

Now that you mention it, I've NEVER been polled.