Opinion Polls for the Masses

Manila Bulletin, March 28, 2012 | Go to article overview

Opinion Polls for the Masses


(Editor's note: Opinion polls started by George Horace Gallup in 1936 have gained reliability to the point of perfection, as noted by the author.)

MANILA, Philippines - The impeachment trial we see on national TV can reach only a few million viewers of our 98 M national population. In the countryside - coastal villages, remote mountain barangays, farming villages, shanties on road shoulders - people haven't heard the name Corona and the senator-judges. Only people in the poblacion take an interest in the impeachment case and by now countless of bettors invested small/big fortunes in the trial's outcome.

Magic number

The magic number is 16 for conviction and 15 or less stands for acquittal. But bettors are of the various types and persuasion: 1) they bet on numbers only, like 13-10 or 12-11 for conviction; 2) they can bet on 11-11 with one abstention, 3) or a combination of numbers from 1 to 23 with odds that resemble a lotto play.

Polls in schools

The students' polls in prestigious colleges/universities will definitely influence millions of promdis about the outcome of the trial. Let's not belittle the number of respondents in surveys. We often hear comments like, "the opinion of 1,200 or 2,000 students don't represent the majority of the national population."

George Horace Gallup

How reliable are opinion surveys? George Horace Gallup taught journalism until 1932. He received a Ph.D. in journalism in 1928. Gallup pioneered in public-opinion analysis and modern-polling techniques. He joined the New York firm of Young and Rubicam Advertising Agency, where he developed techniques for assessing reader interest in advertising and feature stories. He also focused on measuring the size and composition of radio program audiences.

Research techniques

In 1935, Gallup founded the American Institute of Public Opinion (AIPO). Its first election poll, prepared in 1936, and other early surveys, applied market research techniques to the study of public opinion on social and political issues. The AIPO became a research organization with a reputation for reliability and a clientele of academic social researchers, private industry news media, and political groups. …

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