Originally Posted by deathrattle
The link you posted stresses the difference between scientific and unscientific polls and upholds Gallup for being conducted properly. The questions asked are quoted and the margin of error calculated. I really don't understand your point, or for that matter why you are so fired up on this issue?
And for your specimen questions, I would answer an unequivocal 'no' and 'yes'-what is the problem there?
The problem there is that I was asking a question on the same topic two different ways. If I hope to obtain more "no" answers, I ask it the first way...if I hope to obtain more "yes" answers, I ask it the second way. I would massage the wording of the question to favor one point of view or the other, depending on what outcome the group paying me is looking for.
Again, there are *very* few polling agencies that can answer the 19 or so relevant questions from that list in a manner that demonstrates transparency in what they're attempting to accomplish, and in a manner that doesn't reveal an obvious slant. The same is true of global warming research - if you're a scientist and want grant money, you'll present the portions of research that best resonate with the people paying you - otherwise you'd be biting the hand that feeds you, so to speak.
Common sense tells you that 'most people' don't believe in creationism. The bloody Cliffs of Dover are 30,000,000 years old for Pete's sake....kind of shoots a hole in the creationism 'theory'. Either way, the premise of the questions are idiotic to begin with. You may as well have asked "do you prefer apples or oranges?" - creationism vs. evolution are matters of faith & science, respectively. You can't compare the two, nor choose one over the other.
I'm not as fired up about polls themselves as I am at the credibility with which the public endows them - an act that requires the complete and utter suspension of disbelief (something I personally am not prone to do easily). Were the questions worded in such a way as to favor a specific type of response? Were all of the individuals who answered doing so honestly and seriously? If not, how many of them weren't? How can you tell? Either way, what were all of the details surrounding the people selected for questioning (standing in a shopping mall or a sidewalk, going door-to-door, by telephone, etc)? All of these things have significant statistical bearings on the results of any poll, but seldom if ever do these factors make it into news stories based on poll results because they're cumbersome and often unflattering. Or, in a word, foolish.