Should they? Yes or no

Very long-term readers might remember that this blog (on one of its earlier iterations) used to feature a regular segment about the Herald Sun voteline polls – where punters tried to pick how many Hun readers would pay the premium voteline charge to participate, what the answer would be (no points), and what the percentages would be. It died when I lost easy access to someone else’s physical copy of the rag, but obviously little has changed since then. (If someone wanted to email me the question and previous results each day, it could even be revived.)

So I commend to you Scott Bridges’ article today at The Drum on stupid newspaper polls:

Upon release of the 2004 federal budget, Melbourne’s Herald Sun asked its readers a yes/no question: “Did you want to see tax cuts or more spending on health and education in today’s Federal budget?” The results were surprising: It’s hard to know at whom to laugh harder: the question’s author or the 64 people who called a premium service phone number to vote. And although it’s an isolated case, I actually think it’s indicative of the value of reader polls overall; something inside me dies every time I see complex, nuanced issues reduced to an over-simplified yes/no proposition.

He’s also got some fatuous examples from Fairfax. It always surprises me that they can publish this sort of thing without becoming utter laughing stocks.

More than they are already, anyway.

3 responses to “Should they? Yes or no

  1. One the 10 reasons the Herald Sun have given in demanding Christine Nixon be sacked is that “About 70 per cent of Herald Sun online readers say she must go.”

    And if you think that’s a bit desperate, check out reasons 2 and 3:

    2 She went to dinner minutes after being told of at least 14 lives being lost

    3 She did not cancel dinner after learning people had died and homes had been lost

    They just had to have ten.

  2. “And if you think that’s a bit desperate, check out reasons 2 and 3:”

    heh – I never got past reason 3, I mean what’s the point if they start repeating the exact same reason so early in the list?

    Monday’s front page? Cousins, Bingle but the funniest headline – Judge blasts Newman… ‘Oooh’ I thought, ‘I’ll have a look at that’, turns out that the headline (on the front page) was false, it was a magistrate.

    In my opinion the Sun is an awful publication that targets the lowest common denominator.

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