The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Taruna Godric , 416-916-5202


Polls, The Media and Who Will Win in 2008

Public opinion polls: do they measure public opinion or make it?


Dr Barry Kay, Associate Professor of Political Science at Wilfrid
Laurier University, says that there is sort of an 'obsession on the
part of the media with polling and I don't think it can be easily
ignored. Are there flaws? Absolutely. It's a matter of knowing how to

'People should be mindful of the fact that the polling industry has
changed; getting information by telephone is so much more difficult
than it used to be with cell phones now'. When using the traditional
telephone polling only 1 of 5 people who are contacted agree to
participate. There have been many changes in technology that some say
online polling will be the wave of the future.

The Obama and McCain polling may be steady now, but there is still
two more months left till the elections. People who are not so
interested with the polling will wait till the first Presidential
debate on September 26th to make their decision.

The role of the media in public opinion is enormous. Right now the
television news seems like an echo chamber. It echoes the advertisement
campaigns but never takes into account if the information is correct.
Dr. Barry Kay comments that 'media focuses on polls because it
entertains and amuses the audience'.

'In general people who do not vote do not participate in polls, the
problem is some people who do vote do not participate in polls either'.
However generally, the polls on average are pretty good.

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