When is a poll not a poll?

polls2I suspect many people were confused after Monday’s presidential debate to discover that several “on-line” polls found Donald Trump to be the winner by an overwhelming margin. It turns out that the  polls which support this claim are really just for the purposes of entertainment and have no credibility in the world of legitimate scientific polling.

One news executive, at Fox no less, cautioned staff and producers in a memo that such polls “do not meet our editorial standards.”

Dana Blanton, the vice-president of public opinion research at Fox News, explained in the memo … that “on-line polls like the ones in Drudge, Time, etc., where people can opt in or self-select … are really just for fun.”

He continued,

“As most of the publications themselves clearly state, the sample obviously can’t be representative of the electorate because they only reflect the views of those Internet users who have chosen to participate.

That didn’t stop various Fox personalities like Sean Hannity and Brian Kilmeade from citing them, but they were citing nonsense, as is most usually the case at Fox. In fact, polls conducted in a manner consistent with scientific methodology found that Clinton beat Trump, and rather badly.

I wouldn’t want to go as far as to say that even Fox News is getting nervous about the lies habitually told on their network, but it seems something moved them to express concern.

Unfortunately once these claims, based on nothing, are made public, they are believed by those who need to believe them, and nothing can put the genie back in the bottle.

No one reads a retraction, not that Hannity, et. al., are offering one.

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