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Results of TV 'Poll' Highly Misleading

Two Niagara Falls Council candidates, incumbent Kristin Grandinetti and Andy Touma, have mentioned in op-eds in the Niagara Gazette that a "YNN Poll, showed 83 percent of the residents of Niagara Falls were in favor of the Hamister Project."

Both are wrong.

To present this as a poll is highly misleading.

YNN did not conduct a poll but a "snap poll."

A true poll is an assessment of public opinion obtained by questioning a representative sample. The pollster contacts the people being polled, not vice versa.

The YNN snap poll was based on people who contacted YNN on their Facebook or by clicking on their remote control buttons on their TV set immediately after a story appeared on YNN that was supportive of the Hamister proposal.

The reason why true polls do not allow people to contact them to volunteer opinions is that these only reflect those most interested in the issue.

The general public, who have impressions, favorable or unfavorable, may not believe the issue is important enough to warrant volunteering to be counted in a poll.

A poll made up entirely of volunteers, such as the YNN snap poll, is what is called in polling a “non-probability sample.”

The key to an authentic poll is to have a random sample so that every type of person has an equal chance of having their views captured. The kinds of people who might volunteer for a poll are likely to be very different from the average Niagara Falls voter. They would probably be more politically interested or might have a stake in the Hamister deal.

Two council candidates represented to the public that there was a poll, instead of a snap poll made up of volunteers.

Much of the Hamister deal details have been similarly misrepresented.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

AUG 20, 2013