I spent too much time voting for Clay Aiken on an Internet poll this past week. I am not sorry that I added my votes in for Clay. I was trying to make a statement to the station and other fan groups that Clay still has an active fan base and that fan base still loves him!
For me, Clay Aiken doesn’t need to win a poll for me to know that he is the Ultimate Idol! I do think that Clay fans surprised a lot of people during this poll. They had no idea that Clay Aiken had an active fan base and that his fans proudly stood up to be counted!
However, with all the “interesting” things that happened in this poll, I began to think about Internet Polls and their results. The following are my ideas. You can agree or disagree and that is just fine. I just needed to think it through….AND…I will probably be right there, voting for Clay, when the next poll comes up.
On the long list of Things That Are Important In This World, Internet polls rank pretty low.
These polls aren’t meant to influence public opinion or even to represent the general opinion of the community. They are simply questions that are asked in order to collect a few opinions. They can be interesting and entertaining, but, they are not important.
One truth about the Internet is that people who read a particular website are likely to hold similar opinions. Any simple poll you find online is very unlikely to represent the true feelings of an entire community, country or world. These polls simply represent the opinions of the people who happened to vote on the poll.
On May 8, 2011, The New York Times published an article on Internet Polls. They said:
Most Internet polls should be avoided as measures of the opinions of the general population, according to a report released last month by the American Association of Public Opinion Researchers (AAPOR).
As I’m sure you know, these polls are not worth the pixels they are rendered in. They suffer from what researchers call self-selection bias, meaning that rather than reliably representing the views of the readership, it just shows which self-selecting groups were most mobilized to vote. Less a poll, more a clicking contest.
Steve Bromberg is the executive editor of FoxNews.com. His comments about Internet polls are interesting, especially since polls are used on FoxNews.com regularly.
“It’s just entertainment, strictly entertainment. How can anybody think that in a poll where you can vote a billion times that it is in any way representative of public opinion?”
Unless a professional company puts a poll together in a controlled manner, you shouldn’t consider the results to be worth much of anything. They are interesting, which is why we do them, but they should not be considered relevant.
For anyone who gets worked up over things like this, I can only suggest you take a deep breath. There are more important things in your life and in other people’s lives.
And for anyone who uses polls like these to guide their decision-making processes, I suggest you reconsider your information-gathering methods.
Did you vote in the latest Ultimate Idol Poll? Do you think it was a fair poll?
The talented SueReu put together the 2nd part of her video, “A Simple Thank-You.” When I watched this video, I started to smile. It helped me remember that every moment I spend supporting Clay Aiken is important. He is an amazing man!!