There isn’t a day that goes by that an online news web site doesn’t attempt to prod us to complete one of their surveys. But how much validity do they really have?
Here’s what the National Council on Public Polls has to say about Internet polls. “While different members of NCPP have different opinions about the potential validity and value of online surveys, there is a consensus that many web-based surveys are completely unreliable. Indeed, to describe them as ‘polls’ is to misuse that term.”
Take for example Aljazeera Publishing which owns and operates Aljazeera.com. In all sincerity one could not say with any conviction that this media outlet is a friend of Israel. And on that basis, one could make the presumption that their online surveys are slightly skewed toward Arab political interests.
Nevertheless, Aljazeera Publishing classifies itself as “an independent media organisation established in 1992 in London. Aljazeera.com has a particular focus on events and issues in the Middle East covering major developments presenting facts as they happen.”
So let’s be somewhat generous and give them the benefit of any doubt we may have. Here are a few examples taken today, (Sunday December 2, 2007) from their numerous ongoing online surveys.
Do you expect the Annapolis summit to yield fruitful outcomes?
YES: 292 (16%) NO: 1529 (84%)
Who do you think is behind political assassinations in Lebanon?
ISRAEL: 1416 (46%) SYRIA: 1508 (48%) DON’T KNOW: 185 (6%)
Why did Israel carry out an air strike on Syria?
To destroy a nuclear facility: 459 (26%)
To provoke confrontation with Damascus: 750 (43%)
To warn Syria not to re-arm Hezbollah: 548 (31%)
Now is the right time for Western states to engage with Hamas
AGREE: 801 (37%)
DISAGREE: 1369 (63%)
Could Tony Blair bring peace as special Middle East envoy?
YES: 2502 (55%)
NO: 1858 (41%)
MAYBE: 190 (4%)
Syria’s presence at Annapolis could open a new chapter in its relationship with Washington
YES: 353 (32%)
NO: 456 (46%)
MAYBE: 244 (22%)
Nasrallah’s promise of a ‘big surprise‘ if Israel attacked Lebanon again is…
SERIOUS: 986 (59%)
JUST BLUSTER: 681 (41%)
Do you think the new Palestinian government in the occupied West Bank will survive?
YES: 767 (27%)
NO: 1866 (66%)
MAYBE: 185 (7%)
Fascinating isn’t. But to quote NCPP, “Unscientific pseudo-polls are widespread and sometimes entertaining, if always quite meaningless.”