Candidates use public opinion polls to determine what interest voters. Describe a potential flaw that could happen with these polls that could cause inaccuracies.This is in my American government...

Candidates use public opinion polls to determine what interest voters. Describe a potential flaw that could happen with these polls that could cause inaccuracies.

This is in my American government class

Asked on by house1966

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The most common flaw in opinion polling is with the questions that are asked.  Polls sometimes ask questions and give the person being polled a list of possible answers.  It can often be the case that the answer the person really wants to give is not on the list.  When this happens, the poll will return a result that does not really tell the candidate what the voters truly think.

For example, let us think about a poll that says something like "do you support cuts in government spending," and lets you answer something like strongly support, somewhat support, neutral, somewhat oppose, strongly oppose.  What if people would like to answer "I would strongly support cuts as long as there were also increases in taxes?"  What if people want to answer "I would strongly support cuts, but only if they do not affect national defense spending?"  Such answers would not be allowed and so the candidate would simply come away with the idea that people support spending cuts when the truth is more complicated that that.

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