How to fix a poll

The media must think we are all idiots. Polls are taken and the results are reported on the news shows and we are supposed to feel “out of touch” if we don’t agree with the big number at the top. We’ve all heard that “a survey can be fixed to support any view” and it is true. If you are ever polled watch out for the tricks they use.

Let’s make up a poll as an example. Let’s pretend that I am from a news show that has a severe left-wing slant. I am going to ask you the following question:
Do you approve of George W. Bush’s actions this past week

  1. No
  2. Yes, completely
  3. Yes, he’s a great person
  4. Yes, except for one thing

Did you catch it? Unfortunately, many people don’t see the problem. All of the “No” votes go into one slot, while the “Yes” votes are split into three different categories. It’s just a numbers game and the pollster knows that it is far more likely for “No” to win in this case.

Now after the votes are tallied the news caster can now give you the “results”. 44% of Americans polled disapprove of Bush’s actions last week while only 20% agree (only reporting the “Yes, completely” votes). They want you to feel stupid if you only agree with 20% of Americans.

So, there you have it. If you want to take a survey and you want it to turn out a certain way, just divide the opposing views choice into smaller pieces and you win every time.

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