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Opinion poll can be referred as a way of collecting the views or opinions of public on a certain issue. Opinion poll uses sampling method, where a small sample represents the whole group. Opinion polls can be applied in predicting consumer buying behavior and election outcomes. Opinion poll results always differ from the final results. The differences in the opinion polls can be attributed to the factors discussed below.
In some situations, the respondents do not express their genuine beliefs and opinions. Some of the people interviewed may be compelled to give the wrong opinion in order to please the interviewer. In other occasions, individuals do not want to do the questioning and so they give positive answers in order to avoid further probing. In other situations, the poll operator may influence the decisions of the participants so as to get results that favor their clients. The poll operator should not influence the decisions of the partcipants in any way.
The Methods Used to Collect the Samples May be Biased
In some instances, the opinion polls can be administered through phones. However, there are individuals who do not own a phone and their opinions may not be considered. The poll operator should try to combine various methods so as to suit a situation.
Wording of Questions
The way the questions are phrased may also be a potential source of error. In some cases, the questions asked may describe a certain candidate to be leading. This will discourage people from giving favorable opinions to other candidates. The poll operator should ensure a proper wording is in place. Samples can be subjected to questions with different wording.
The poll operator relies on samples. It appears unpractical for the poll operator to take a good sample from a large population. The samples used may not be representative of the actual population. This may be a significant source of differences between pole results and a final outcome. The poll operator should ensure that the samples taken cover all the regions by avoiding spatial biases.
Some of the individuals interviewed may not respond to the operator. In some instances, those who respond may have similar characteristics. These cases lead to a biased sample. The poll operator should come up with ways of reducing potential sources of non-response.
Some individuals tend to change their mind, and they shift their support just before voting. This leads to significant differences between the opinion polls and the actual results. The poll operators need to consider such occasions when calculating their margin of error.