What Opinion Polls Teach Us About Data Versus Truth
In today’s society, public polling and opinion polls have transformed into bias assumptions distributed by partial organizations in attempt to mislead and sway the public into thinking a specific candidate has made progress or lost ground. What the public does not know is that many of these polling reports have so many caveats in their footnotes, the data is basically useless to the general public. For example, when someone checks their Facebook newsfeed they may see a particular poll, shared by one of their friends, that has Trump overtaking Clinton in the closing weeks of the election. However, if one were to dig deeper into the data they may find that the poll was made up of ninety-percent Republican voters, five-percent Green Party voters and five-percent Democratic voters. This is exactly the problem, Kalev Leetaru, the author of “What Opinion Polls Teach Us About Data Versus Truth” is trying to emphasize. He explains that in today’s world, with so much data being collected, “data illiteracy” is creating an ill-informed society that does not truly grasp what the data is telling them and whether the data is valid or not.
I believe that Mr. Leetaru argument that data illiteracy leads to an ill-informed society is true and have personally seen how bias opinion polls can sway the opinions of the public and leave many people mislead. Much like the example in the article, when I log onto social media, as I scroll down my newsfeeds I can find countless polling reports shared by peers, all showing vastly different results. In the comments, you can read one person arguing that their poll is true and another arguing that their poll is true. However, the problem behind these polls, is exactly what Mr. Leetaru is talking about, many people mistake data for the truth in today’s society. In many cases data, whether it is a political poll or a customer’s rating at a restaurant, is skewed in favor of the organization that offered the poll. These organizations can do this because they do not expect people to truly understand the data. They expect a society, which revolves so much around Big Data and technology, to see the numbers and results presented and simply take it as facts and unfortunately this often holds true.
In conclusion, Mr. Leetaru’s article shows us that as society continues to collect Big Data and base many of their opinions off this data, they may want to evaluate the information to ensure they understand where it is coming from and if it is truly valid. In the future, if society continues this trend of simply using data, that most closely resembles their opinion, as fact it will lead to a misinformed culture that is ultimately viewed as ignorant by those who take the time to understand the real facts and actually decipher the data in use.
Leetaru, Kalev. "What Opinion Polls Teach Us About Data Versus Truth." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 08 Nov. 2016. Web. 08 Nov. 2016