Throughout the election season, politicians cite polls to show their popularity with the voting public, the support one of their policies has among the populace, or how much voters disagree with their opponents and their position. From citing Gallup to Pew to even Facebook and other online polls, campaigns and their supporters use this information to try to influence others and to help craft their message.
While it may be easy to listen to these numbers and believe in their efficacy, the truth is often more difficult to explain. With the growth of the Internet, online polling has become more prevalent and more discussed by politicians, journalists, and others.
Public opinion polling is a much more involved process than merely adding a survey to a webpage or relying on email responses. In fact, it is a scientific process that researchers and pollsters engage in to try to gauge public opinion on topics, individuals, and other information.
And while pollsters and researchers seek to get the most accurate information possible, there are still some pros and cons.