POLL: What’s The Biggest Problem With Polls?

A. Only a few are accurate
B. They may be easily manipulated in the way the questions are asked
C. The results may be used by politicians to support or “confirm” specious arguments
D. Their main purpose is to fill 24/7 news cycles
E. All of the above

If you watch Fox News Channel and CNN or visit on-line “news” websites, you are bombarded with polls. “Is the Obama administration doing enough to manage the BP gusher?” “Has the administration done enough to reign in government spending?” “Has the administration ignored job creation?” “Did Democrats go too far in passing health care reform?” “Has the Obama administration ignored illegal immigration?”

All of these questions may seem innocuous enough, but the very fact that the media is asking them, and the way they’re being asked, has a direct influence on public opinion. The questions, themselves, imply the desired answer. And the media know it. If they were really interested in public opinion most of those questions would be asked in a more objective way, and many of them would never be asked at all.

The inescapable conclusion is that the media, most especially Fox “News” Channel, are using polls in order to create controversy, fill airtime and shape public opinion. Moreover, politicians and their allies spout the results to reinforce their points of view regardless of the manner in which the polls are conducted. Objectivity, fairness and logic be damned.