HUMN 1201 Savannah State University Communications Questionnaire

Critical Thinking and CommunicationCan We Trust Polls? – 1A Podcast Worksheet
**Type your answers below. Put your responses in BOLD FONT.**
A large part of this radio show examined two basic issues regarding the 2016 presidential election polling: how the polls
were conducted and how the polls were interpreted. Another topic of discussion was the impact of poll results on voter
turnout.
1. A task force convened to analyze the results of the 2016 presidential election polling found that the state polls
were generally correct, but the national polls were generally misleading. True or False? Justify your answer.
2. One of the critiques of the 2016 polls was that there was poor methodology employed by pollsters in that they
didn’t sufficiently weight by demographic characteristics, creating biased and inaccurate results. Explain how
this erroneously led to interpretations that Hillary Clinton was sure to win the election. Which demographic
features were dominant in the poll respondents and which demographic features were left out, accounting for
the skewed results?
3. Many think that the prevalence of cell phones has created a crisis for random sampling. Why did the panelist
say this was a myth?
4. Good polling practices include all of the following features except: (place an X next to your response and justify
your response below):
a.
b.
c.
d.
a focus on measuring attitudes and trends rather than forecasting or predicting outcomes
the use of robo calls to avoid the potential bias of live callers
collecting data from a random sample
including a margin of error in the results
Justify your choice:
5. To guard against context effect (unfairly slanting or biasing a respondent due to the ordering of the questions in
a survey), pollsters should ask key questions early in the survey. True or False? Justify your answer.
6. List three methods for gathering poll data mentioned in the broadcast:
7. Why did one of the panelists say that a clear indication of a bad poll was one that included decimal points in the
results (e.g., 46.3% are against immigration reform while 53.7% support immigration reform)?
BONUS QUESTION:
**In detail, discuss something that this radio broadcast taught you about polling and how you will apply this information
in the future.

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