I wrote this back in October (I think it was actually a response on someone’s Facebook post) and copied it here to post later. But, of course, I never did. However, I came across it today and, it’s still relevant. I know the idea that the fighting and name-calling and unceasing selfishness may never end, but I have to believe that we are better than this. Remember: there are more of US than there are of THEM. And the only THEM we should ever acknowledge as OTHER are those in power forcing us to fight each other so that they can get rich and do whatever they want.
For a poll to be effective, it has to use a large enough sample size, randomly selected. It’s the same methodology that stores use when they ask you for your zip code or address. They’re trying to determine where their shoppers are coming from to determine if they need to open another store closer to their base.
It’s also how drug testing works. Test on a large enough sample and you can get an idea as to the effectiveness and severity of side effects.
Just because you’ve never been polled doesn’t mean anything. Most people don’t answer surveys by phone or mail because they don’t want to be bothered.
That said, polls can be manipulated just like any statistic. On the flip side, just because a poll disagrees with your (the royal “your”, not any specific “your”) viewpoint and you don’t know anyone else that was polled (again, royal “you”), doesn’t mean the poll is incorrect. It’s natural to be in the minority on a particular subject and still feel like the majority because we tend to surround ourselves with people that think like we do.
It’s why herd mentality and groupthink are so effectively dangerous. We’re too busy fighting against “the other team” to figure out what we have in common and work toward that. It’s how our political system has divided us for decades to allow corporate interests to supersede personal interests. Our country has always been a democracy fighting against its own innate nature to transition to an oligarchy. But most people are too stupid or too easily distracted to fight those pulling the strings. They’d rather righteously declare themselves “correct” than admit that the side they’ve chosen doesn’t care about them at all.