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Discussion Starter #1
I just watched a CTV news report, and the "meat" of the election coverage was an interview of a pollster. Aside from talking about numbers, he then started to express his opinion. I believe that polls should be banned during elections. News should be about what the candidates say, not about how people intend to vote. We should be able to come to conclusions about candidates and parties without being "told" about other's intentions or opinions based on small samples.

I also feel that reporting about polls decreases the incentive for people to vote. Some might think that since the outcome is "decided," based on polling numbers, there is no reason for them to make an effort to cast a ballot.

The only poll that counts is the election itself.
 

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May as well ban campaigning as well--since each party claims to have the election in the bag.
 

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I disagree 100% with the precept of the original post. Polls are useful to thinking voters in assessing the impact of candidates' statements and policy. I personally want all the data I can get to help me structure my vote. But I take it upon myself to evaluate and prioritise each source. Polls themselves have little value unless one takes the time to know who is actually being polled. It is easy to structure questions within a poll to give a desired outcome.

I do agree however that news organisations lean too heavily on polls for content. This is a failure of general journalism (as opposed to individual journalists) in that there is little serious effort at news gathering. It is much easier to just call up a few pollsters than it is to go out and hunt up representative individuals and groups and study their reactions. Polls are just an easy answer - they have value but should not be used as the only source.

I think the OP's issue is with CTV, etc. rather than with polling itself.

Definitely yes, the election is the poll that counts.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I think the OP's issue is with CTV, etc. rather than with polling itself.
I don't have an issue specifically with CTV, anymore than concerns about reporting by other networks, or local media. Generally, interviewing pollsters is low journalism; they are not the source of news. Why not interview the cameramen? Of course the journalists always add their two cents worth (and that's being generous!). No, my issue is with reporting polls during election campaigns.

Again, what about the impact of polls on the incentive to cast a ballot?

A discussion about the quality of journalism should be part of another thread.
 

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I don't have an issue specifically with CTV, anymore than concerns about reporting by other networks, or local media. Generally, interviewing pollsters is low journalism; they are not the source of news. Why not interview the cameramen? Of course the journalists always add their two cents worth (and that's being generous!). No, my issue is with reporting polls during election campaigns.

Again, what about the impact of polls on the incentive to cast a ballot?

A discussion about the quality of journalism should be part of another thread.
Polls don't affect me personally one way or the other.

For a more comprehensive response, you should probably have a poll.beejacon

Derailment: I wish reporters would stick to reporting the news - who, what, when, where (and if known) why. I'm really sick of editorializing masquerading as 'reporting'. This is especially irksome when a news reader on TV news feels obligated to make some commentary at the end of a news report from someone out in the field.
 

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Polls are the legitimate expressions of the interests and opinions of those polled. Banning polls would be banning free speech.
 
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Polls are the legitimate expressions of the interests and opinions of those polled. Banning polls would be banning free speech.

Once again, we agree here. Of course, I personally am not swayed by such polls, and always rejoice in when they are wrong. Paix, mon ami.
 

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Polls suck and are a distraction.

Banning polls is even more sucktastic and ridiculous.


'nuff said.
 

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Please don't insult me. I responded to your post with a thoughtful opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Please don't insult me. I responded to your post with a thoughtful opinion.
I apologize for offending you. I am hoping to get more out of the conversation than mere jingoistic comments. But, I'll bite.

We do not live in a regime of free speech. There are limits on what we can say and applicable laws (e.g., libel, slander, hate speech, deceit, fraud, death threats, state secrets), so, claiming that anything can be said under the rubric of "free speech" does not, in my opinion, respond with any depth to the issue.

Furthermore, to augment the saying "put your money where your mouth is", why are there restrictions on what can be spent in campaigns? After all, advertising is a form of speech.

And, I want to explore the issue of the poor voter turnout. I think, without any research, that polls have a detrimental effect on people making the effort to cast a ballot. Many have responded that polls do not influence them, but can that be said about people generally?
 

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I apologize for offending you. I am hoping to get more out of the conversation than mere jingoistic comments. But, I'll bite.

We do not live in a regime of free speech. There are limits on what we can say and applicable laws (e.g., libel, slander, hate speech, deceit, fraud, death threats, state secrets), so, claiming that anything can be said under the rubric of "free speech" does not, in my opinion, respond with any depth to the issue.

Furthermore, to augment the saying "put your money where your mouth is", why are there restrictions on what can be spent in campaigns? After all, advertising is a form of speech.

And, I want to explore the issue of the poor voter turnout. I think, without any research, that polls have a detrimental effect on people making the effort to cast a ballot. Many have responded that polls do not influence them, but can that be said about people generally?
It's not jingoism to suggest that freedom of speech is more important than whether you think polls have a bad influence on voters. Suppose I said television ads dampen voter turnout. Supposing I said that people who receive government money ought not to vote, since they can vote themselves an increase, therefore they are more motivated to vote and skew the results. Suppose I said that newspapers who back a candidate ought not to report on the election, since they have too much skin in the game. Suppose I could prove that any of these had what I perceived as a "negative effect" on voter turnout.

If a poll influences someone, then what's the problem with that? Will denying them information make them better voters?

These are all just personal prejudices and bugbears dressed up as reason.
 

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The very idea of banning polls is a much more Looney Tunes approach than any other post in this thread. :rolleyes:
I believe we should now conduct a poll as to whether or not to ban polls.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It's not jingoism to suggest that freedom of speech is more important than whether you think polls have a bad influence on voters.
Each of your comments merits discussion, and I’m sure that there would be differing, if not opposing arguments for each point. I also champion ‘free speech’, but it is not a pat answer to every debate. I decided to head the thread as a statement rather than a question to illicit discussion rather than yes or no answers.

At this time, I am not convinced of my argument about banning polls. As rgray, MLeh, and Dr. G. have commented, they are not influenced by polls, nor am I. Are we a representative sample of the Canadian population? If so, why are polls reported in the media?

Perhaps media decision makers, looking for something catchy or ‘exciting’ or ‘new(s)’ to report every day, hit upon the idea of reporting polls because they have the potential to be captivating (excuse the pun) against the backdrop of predictable announcements and pronouncements from parties and party leaders.

As I think about this more, it seems to me that polls might have the biggest effect on voter turnout. Perhaps there is an inverse relationship between reported percentage differences among the parties and percentage of those who vote: the greater the greater the differences in polls, the lower the turnout, the closer the spread in the polls, the higher the turnout. Any political science researchers out there?
 

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As I think about this more, it seems to me that polls might have the biggest effect on voter turnout. Perhaps there is an inverse relationship between reported percentage differences among the parties and percentage of those who vote: the greater the greater the differences in polls, the lower the turnout, the closer the spread in the polls, the higher the turnout. Any political science researchers out there?
The only thing I have ever seen close to this was an indication that in some elections (not polls) when the results of an overwhelming election are projected by a TV network or other instant-news source, it may tend to dampen voter turnout in other parts of the country. In the internet age, we have no ability to hide such results from people in other time zones, and even staggering voting times to prevent this would skew voter participation.
 

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First read I thought OP was advocating banning pols (politicians) during an election. :lmao:

Great idea but sadly not feasible. :rolleyes:
 

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Polls are the legitimate expressions of the interests and opinions of those polled. Banning polls would be banning free speech.

damn it, I hate it when Macfury has the same opinnion as me... and says it first on top of it! :D
 
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