Saturday, June 08, 2013

Push Polling Push

While on social media (OK, it was Facebook) moments ago, I noticed a "poll" about natural gas. I use scare quotes with the word poll because this is clearly not a legitimate poll, which is a scientific instrument that uses a combination of random and systematic selection to estimate the prevalence of opinions. This "poll" uses a haphazard sampling methodology.

It is not a strong example of  a "push" poll, but it is worded to emphasize benefits and does not specify risks or use keywords such as "fracking." The web site of the polling company explains the purpose of the polling effort, and is a reminder of the reasons I do not participate in polls as often as I did in the past. I used to think of polls as a way to express my opinion; I now realize that their main purpose is to improve the ability of marketers -- for politicians, products, or lobbyists -- to manipulate audiences.

(See further posts regarding "fracking," a risky process increasingly employed in the extraction of both natural gas and petroleum.

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