Day 8: Public Opinion Polls

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Day 8: Public Opinion Polls

  1. 1. The Internet & Public Opinion Polls
  2. 2. Here’s What’s Going On. • Go over Internet Activity from yesterday. • Then, talking about the Internet. • Then, chatting about public opinion polls. • Last, a special surprise.
  3. 3. So, what was the point of yesterday? • Websites can look legit, but aren’t. • Pay attention to who made the website (candy association telling you about the nutritional value of candy?) • Just because it says that it has been updated, doesn’t mean it has. • Use Google and other resources to discover more information about any organization
  4. 4. A Quick Word About Wikipedia… • NOT an authoritative source • HOWEVER, it can be very useful – Good starting point – Check the sources cited at the bottom for good resources
  5. 5. Future of the Internet and Politics? • Obama Campaign – Mobilize large number of people cheaply – YouTube = free advertising – Fact checking – Spreading the message across social networks (Facebook, Myspace etc.) – More efficient communication
  6. 6. Public Opinion Polls • Why use public opinion polls? – Candidates want to discover public preferences – Political analysts want to know about public opinion – Media find it to be an interesting story
  7. 7. Types of Polls • Straw – Attempt to discover the public’s opinion by asking the same question to a large number of people – Common on TV, talk radio & Internet
  8. 8. • Scientific poll – Valid questions! – Random sample – Large sample
  9. 9. 5 steps to conducting a scientific poll 1. Define the population to be polled. 2. Construct a sample. 3. Prepare valid questions. 4. Select and control the means by which the poll will be taken 5. Report your findings
  10. 10. Avoiding “Bad” Questions • Double negative – An affirmative constructed from two negatives – Ex. “I did not want to not go to the store.” – Better = “I wanted to go to the store.”
  11. 11. Avoiding “Bad” Questions • Double-barreled – A pair of options is offered but the response alternatives are only “Yes” or “No” – Ex. “Did you vote in the 2004 and the 2006 election?” – How can we make this better?
  12. 12. Avoiding “Bad” Questions • Leading – Initial phrase leads respondent by suggesting the position of an authority with which it might be difficult to disagree. – Ex. “Do you support President Bush’s decision to send additional troops to Iraq?” – Better = “Do you favor or oppose sending additional troops to Iraq?”
  13. 13. Avoiding “Bad” Questions • Question order – The order of questions may be designed to “lead” the respondent to a certain predictable response.
  14. 14. Avoiding “Bad” Questions • Unbalanced questions – Do not equally represent two sides of an issue – Ex. “Do you support the United States taking military action against Iraq?” – Better = “Do you support or oppose the United States taking military action against Iraq?”
  15. 15. Avoiding “Bad” Questions • Complex language – Questions are worded awkwardly or use highly specific or technical language – Ex. “Do you think Congress should pass legislation to facilitate single-payer cost reimbursement plans for indigent patients?”

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