Monday, June 30, 2008

The Problem With Polls

problem pollI would most vigorously argue the phrasing of the question, here. If posed that question I would almost certainly answer as the majority did, yet most of my readers know that I am greatly distressed by the huge and growing income inequality in this nation, that I blame our government for it, and that I strongly favor changes in government to correct it.

Yet the idea of the government taking steps to “evenly distribute wealth” strikes horror, even to a bleeding heart liberal like me.

Now if there were a box to check that read something like this:

"Take steps to stop the game being rigged to favor the wealthy."

That one I would check in a heartbeat, and I would not hesitate to check it as being more important than either of the two possibilities that they did pose. The problem with polls as that they are multiple choice tests, and the choices are rigged to provide the results desired by whoever is paying for the poll. And they don’t offer an option to check “none of the above.”

When I was in school I loved multiple choice tests. I barely had to study for them, as I could pass them if I had even a smattering of knowledge about the subject. One choice was always flagrantly wrong, another was somewhere in left field, and that left a 50/50 chance of guessing the right answer. Teachers loved them because they were easy to grade. They basically left everybody stupid.

Polls do the same thing, but worse. They misinform.

Government has increasingly shifted the tax burden away from the rich and powerful and onto the middle class. Government has increasingly deregulated the financial industry to allow it to enrich itself by preying on the middle and lower class. These moves must be reversed, but the poll refers to doing so as “taking steps to evenly distribute wealth.” Please take another poll, and make it with this question instead of the loaded question implying socialism,

"Take steps to level the financial playing field for all."

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:43 AM

    “taking steps to evenly distribute wealth.” is incorect anyway... they are not distributing it equally. So they are wrong anyway.

    And yeah, I agree with Jayhawk's opinion on polls, and too many people on all sides of the political polygon read them as the end all to anything. A snippet here, a tibit there, and the executive summary is done. And that simply is not enough information to make an informed decision. But then, I may in the minority there.