Public Opinion Polls 1

November 5, 1998
In the past we have talked quite a bit about public opinion polls. Are they statistically accurate? Why haven't I been polled? Are the questions biased? We've focused on a number of issues. But a recent news article raises the perennial question: Who are they surveying?

It turns out that more than 40 percent of the people surveyed in public opinion polls refuse to answer the interviewer's question. That number is up from 25 percent just 15 years ago and seems to be climbing. In the past, we've talked about the public's reticence to answer a survey, but this article explains why.

Pollsters believe that the reason so many people are refusing to answer polls is due to "suging" and "fruging." Now these are not new dance steps. "Suging" is pollsterese for "soliciting under the guise of surveying." And "fruging" means "fund raising under the guise" of surveying. They are the favorite strategies of telemarketers, and they are having a decided impact on public opinion polls.

How many times have you answered the phone and wondered if the survey you are participating in was merely a guise to get you to donate to a particular organization or a pretext to sell you a product? Well, the people of America have had enough, and they aren't answering surveys even if they happen to be legitimate.

I don't know about you, but I am overwhelmed by phone solicitors and I have an unlisted number. I can't imagine the number of calls the typical American citizen receives. As a matter of fact, while I was writing this commentary I received a call at my office from a telemarketer with a Christian organization!

Well, I think you get the idea. America is hanging up on pollsters and telemarketers. And that's why you should take some of these polls with a grain of salt.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.

© 1998 Probe Ministries International