Proliferation of Polls
The current reality is that political campaigns have become a permanent thing that continues both between elections and during elections. Polls are just one of the avenues in which the spirit of high gear political campaigns is being provoked continuously. Even with the proliferation of polls, such avenues have come under attack and scrutiny for not measuring up to standards and providing inaccurate results regarding a political issue . The proliferation has also altered the evaluation mechanism for the poll. It is hard to distinguish which poll uses a good method and which one uses a bad method. This begs the question, what are the pros and cons of opinion polls?
Public opinion polls are very good at creating precision concerning an issue of public interest . They create precision about the perception of the public with regards to the issue. They are a common institution in the media houses and blogs of political analysts. Since media houses and political web blogs are very important and influential tools, they further the creation of precision, even though in other occasions it could be a false precision. With the creation of precision, polls can show whether a government is failing or succeeding despite the fact that sometimes the reporting of the results could be inaccurate.
Polls used during the 2008 election in America had a lot of controversies, but this did not change the reliance of media houses on polls. Individual polls have still continued to rise; some of them do not belong in the Roper Database. This means that most of these polls are partisan polls and they can be sponsored to favor the political view of one party. The controversy in the polls conducted during the 2008 general election in America came because there were very little differences of the results of polls that used bad methods with those that used good methods .
Proliferation of polls is not an entirely new thing in this time and age. It changes with entry of new technologies. For instance in the 60s, polls were mainly conducted using person to person interviews. This was later made easier by the use of telephones, and currently the internet has increased accessibility and simplified it further. Therefore polls can be conducted at any time in response to any issue of national interest. In this way, politicians can easily find their rating in the eyes of the public depending on the position they take on any of these issues that arise. As earlier mentioned, the politicians could also sponsor some of the individuals that are published to favor them because of the understanding that polls create precision.
Public opinion polls are not entirely good. The opinion of the public with regards to an issue can be change within a very short time. A similar poll conducted after a specific period can show totally different results from the first poll . The public can also tell one thing in the opinion polls but tell a different thing in the ballot box. Even with the proliferation of polls used for continuous political campaigns, there is need for the polls to give accurate information. The current focus of opinion polls is just to conduct the polls since every journalist and media house does. This needs to shift and concentrate on convincing the public. With quality polls, politicians can rely on the result published to find out their public rating both during elections and between elections.
Fiorina, M. The New American Democracy, New York: McGraw Hill. 2009
Kathleen, F. A. “Preserving survey quality in time of proliferation” Harvard university program on survey research. 2009, April 17
Wayne, Stephen. The road to the Whitehouse, New York: McGraw Hill. 2009