Public opinion studies are intended to manipulate voters.
Public opinion studies are at the heart of any political strategy. Their principal goal is to manipulate voters. Before politicians open their mouths in Washington about key issues — there are polls. Whether splashed across front pages or commissioned by candidates for private analysis, the statistical sampling of public opinion is a constant in political life.
Tell us what Americans are thinking. Poll creators use pure mathematics and statistics so you are supposed to believe polls must be accurate… but don’t kid yourself.
Mostly, polls gauge the effectiveness of media spin — and contribute to it. Opinion polls don’t just measure; they also manipulate, helping to shape thoughts and tilting our perceptions of how most people think.
Much of the polling data today has been reduced to, at best, an amateur exercise in marketing tactics to sway voters.
Writers create questions to manipulate voters.
The science is in shaping the poll questions and the type of people who are asked to respond.
Leading questions: “Have you stopped beating your wife?” A classic leading question, yes or no, your response means nothing. “Would you vote for a woman for president is she were qualified in every other way?” So being a woman is inferred as a further disqualification?
Vague questions confuse: “Training and career planning are available to me, true or false?” Two questions in one, which one is your answer used for?
Double negatives make it easy to manipulate voters: Take the Roper poll for the American Jewish Committee in 1992. It asked, “Does it seem possible or does it seem impossible to you that the Nazi extermination of the Jews never happened?” The results? A shock: 34 percent seemed to say the Holocaust may not have happened. The question was reworked in 1994 in response to public outcry to ask if people were certain the Holocaust had happened. Asked that way, only 1 percent said it was possible the genocide never took place and 8 percent were unsure.
Most of us may remember the news splash around the original poll. None of us saw the revised study results.
In recent years, poll results have diverged greatly from actual voting results. Pollsters scratch their heads, fain concern for why but never own up to the fact that for the most part, they are the ones responsible. They just didn’t get the result at the polling booth that they were so nicely paid to get.
My favorite excuse lately for hiding behind: “must be some tweak needed to the algorithm.”
It is now more essential than ever for Americans to commit to going out to vote; regardless of what the polls are reporting. Elections have consequences, and we are all liable for stewarding our voting rights by turning up and voting for conservative principles, to spite the polls.