Political polling: are political polls good science - or science fiction?

Political polling: are political polls good science - or science fiction?

  • Political polls are good science

    Votes: 3 50.0%
  • Political polls are science fiction

    Votes: 3 50.0%
  • I'm not sure.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


Well-Known Member
Apr 15, 2007
"Political polls are certainly popular. But are they scientific? To find out, we talked to some pollsters about their methods. Here's what we learned:

With a new poll coming out practically every day, one thing is clear: Pollsters can't call each and every person in the country every time they want to know if the American public likes Bill Clinton or Bob Dole better. Not only would that be expensive and time-consuming, no one's phone would ever stop ringing. So pollsters talk to a sample - a small portion - of the population instead.

Is that cheating? No, it's mathematics, says G. Donald Ferree Jr., associate director of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research. Pollsters use complicated formulas to prove that sampling works, but you can do the same with the following thought problem:

Imagine you have 1,000 jelly beans - 500 red and 500 blue - well-mixed in a jar. If you put on a blindfold and picked out 100 jelly beans, chances are you'd get pretty close to 50 red, 50 blue. Even if you ended up with 47 red and 53 blue, that would still be a good representation of what's in the jar."

Read full article at http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1590/is_n14_v52/ai_18295706

What do you guys think?

Political polls = false?

Umm, asking people questions are good depending on the questions being asked. Furthermore, Polls are good for some things, usually more basic, specific things than abstract or heavily involving concepts.
Can they be manipulated? Why certainly but for the most part they are worth the money spent. If polls didn't show some semblance of the feelings/mood of the public the media and political parties wouldn't spend so much money on them.