It's time we refused to accept publication of a poll without simultaneous publication of how many were polled, their location and, in political polls, their political affiliation. We should also be told exactly what questions were asked. Only when we have at least that much knowledge can we determine the authenticity -- and authority -- of the results.
Wednesday night ABC Nightly News headlined a poll they claim says the American people no longer trust President Bush. The media has been telling us not to trust him in one way or another since he was elected, but tonight ABC decided to "authenticate" that conclusion with a "scientific poll." What they neglected to say is they polled 934 people. And 24% of the people polled were Republicans, 76% were Democrats. No independents. They neglected to say where those people lived, how old they are and just what questions were asked.
I guess all of us have participated in polls where the pollster asked a question and if they didn't get the answer they wanted, they immediately terminated the poll. I've had that happen both on telephone inquiries and when participating in online polls. I've also been asked qualifying questions at the beginning such as "Do you support freedom of choice?"
Let's hold the mainstream media's "feet to the fire" when they issue these polls.