A commonplace of german politics

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Minaret poll

24 March, 2010 (20:18) | abroad, law & order, media | By: Aerar

(German version published on 01 December, 2009)

Online polls are a simple and quick possibility to create a set of opinions from a large amount of people. But in case those polls are open, they suffer two drawbacks which limit their credibility. On the one hand the group of people participating is no neutral group as already the location of the poll defines the voters which than are not representing the “average people”. Above that people with strong convictions often feel encouraged to proclaim that more often than others would. The latter is a problem especially that single persons could severly manipulate a vote if they have the opportunity to cast multiple votes. An experirence Spiegel online made on a poll on the denial of minarets:

“Anmerkung der Redaktion: In einer früheren Version des Artikels konnten SPIEGEL-ONLINE-User in einem Vote über das Schweizer-Minarett-Verbot abstimmen. Nach Hinweisen, dass diese Abstimmung von außen manipuliert wurde, hat die Redaktion das Vote vorzeitig abgeschaltet.” (German)
(My translation: “The editor: In a previous version of this article SPIEGEL_ONLINE users were able to cast a vote on the Swiss denial of minarets. After hints that the poll has been manipulated by external voters the editorial office deactivated this poll before time.”)

As polls nevertheless could be interesting, I will try to repeat it here again. Thanks to a very manageable number of readers of this blog a manipulation by externals hopefully would be not very worthwhile. On the other hand for the same reason the results of the polls would be far beneath the limts of statistical relevance.