Public Opinion Polls

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Public opinion polls may measure anything from political views to attitudes about love, dating, and sex. The sole determinant of the subject is the company sponsoring the survey. A women's magazine such as Cosmopolitan or Vogue will obviously have a far different agenda than The Economist or Wired.

It's not that one form of poll is necessarily "better" than another. But there are candidates who are better suited to certain kinds of consumer surveys. An 18-year-old college student is unlikely to be solicited by the AARP (American Association for Retired Persons), just as senior citizens are unlikely to be queried by video game companies. There are exceptions, sure, but for the most part, the demographics are already well-defined by the research company.

Types of Public Opinion Polls

Some public opinion polls will ask about current governmental policies, from domestic initiatives such as tax measures and budget cuts to foreign matters such as wars and trade issues. There are public opinion polls that inquire about who you think will win a particular political race and why. But there are also polls that ask who you believe will win a pennant race or division title in one of the major sports.

Sports surveys may be conducted by local newspapers, television stations, or magazines, all of whom regularly publish "Best Of" features based on public sentiment. If sports isn't your thing, don't despair. There are similar types of polls, many of which pay considerably, on everything from cooking and cars to work habits and weather.

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