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.