On polls

Will the real Poll please stand up?

On every website there is some poll or the other. People just seem to love polls, but it takes a lot to frame the correct questions, gather the data correctly, and then correctly interpret the results. The most ubiquitous kind of poll - the 'Opinion Poll' is perhaps the most suspect and it should not be taken seriously at all.
It commits the most basic error in sampling - Convenience Sampling. Which is taking the most convenient sample of the population that comes along.
For example:
On The Times of India website they have a poll on the Kaniskha Bomb Verdict. There is a bias that people who vote on it are self-selected and motivated to vote which violates the principle of Simple Random Sampling. Needless to say that very few polls even mention the error margins or the confidence intervals.

"It looks like a poll, sounds like a poll, feels like a poll, but isn't a poll."

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