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Tuesday, May 2, 2006

U.S. Immigration Policies and Online Polling

If you are an online news reader there is no doubt you've been reading about the protests regarding congress and the U.S. Immigration laws. Major news websites such as MSNBC.com and CNN.com have online polls that allow their readers to vote on the debate surrounding immigration. Once the user votes, the current poll stats are displayed and one can see where online readers stand on these issues. While these sites do say that these are not scientific polls, people get the wrong idea in thinking that these results do reflect the views of the majority. In the case of immigration, it would be difficult to consider these polling results as many immigrants do not have the means to get online, read the english text, and to vote. This is not to say that not all have the opportunity, but that this a factor in why these online polls are not scientific.

Other statistics to consider are the income, race, and education level of the average computer user, the average major news website reader, and the percentage of immigrants that are able to get online. While these stats are not readily available, one can imagine that immigrants are not well represented in the online community, much less on these major news websites.

Online news website polls are not a very good indication of where people stand on these issues, it just gives the readers of particular news websites satisfaction in thinking they are voting with the majority. The same would hold true if Howard Stern's website displayed a poll that asked if people liked Howard Stern.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. Plus, some websites tweak the poll result. I've seen CNN done it. So really, don't waste time reading their online polls.

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