Poll GraphIs the sky falling? You look up and see nothing, so you answer no. Put another way, scientists at NASA believe that over the next 10 years, tons of space junk will fall from the sky. Do you believe the sky is falling?

So go polls. We live by them and we often die by them. When they give us the results we like, we rave about the outcome. If not, they are junk.

How many times have your read a report in any media source about the results of a poll and they republished the poll questions just as they were asked? Never? Probably, but that is the most important part of a poll question. Only 5% of the people worldwide believe the sky is falling or 65% believe the sky is falling. What was the question asked?

Not to totally pick on the makers of the poll, people respond to poll questions according to the information that have available to them, as was alluded to by Peter Woolley, a political scientist and director of a recent poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind.

“As with any complex policy issue, voters’ attitudes will depend to a large degree on the information they have,” said Peter Woolley a political scientist and director of the poll. “Information with scientific authority impacts people’s attitudes.

FDU PublicMind conducted a poll asking New Jersey residents what they thought about bear hunting. The article with the poll results don’t give us a clue as to exactly how each question was worded even though the director admits it plays a significant role. PublicMind referred to a poll last year in which the question contained wording that clearly influenced the answer.

The question of allowing a bear hunt has been asked in different ways with varying results. A year ago, PublicMind asked a question about a hunt made conditional on scientific advice that bears were exceeding their habitat limits and destroying property. In that case, 58% would agree to a hunt with 32% still disagreeing.

So why do we ask poll questions? Beats me! I guess without them, I would have less to complain and rave about.

Tom Remington