January 8th, 2020

Are polls reliable?

It began with the headline "Ministerial performance - this is our readers' rating" (Prestasi menteri – ini penilaian pembaca kami) dated December 31, 2019.

In an online survey of Malaysiakini, all 28 ministers were evaluated by readers by choosing the likes and vice versa.

And on Jan 6, 2020, another writing came up entitled "Only 13% of  Malaysian support Anwar as PM? . (“Hanya 13% orang Melayu sokong Anwar jadi PM?).

All of these statements are based on studies, observations, surveys or perhaps 'polls' or simply say 'random survey' in the laymen term.

Politicians may be the ones who hate the polls most, but will love it if the right findings support them.

Journalists have been advised to be careful about reading too much of the opinion polls they may or may have 'invented' the results of the survey and are often easily influenced by the results obtained.

Not surprisingly, voters can be easily disturbed and influenced by the result of endless polls: which seem to indicate one thing and yet do not necessarily have a clear impact on the final result.

When the general election campaign or even ‘pilihanraya kecil’ , voters and supporters alike are busy and are quite aware that the 'race' is of great interest.

There will be certain parties who will help to describe the 'race or polling' situation though not with the intention of wiggling the situation but helping you choose and find out some of the things that may be helpful.

Reviewers or those conducting the 'pilot study' will ask and put up some questions of the public, but traditionally or ultimately one of the most important things: "If there is an election tomorrow, which party will you vote for?" or maybe “Agree or disagree” if he or she is appointed or be your new “chairman”.

Basically, what is the difference between polls or surveys?

Polls are used to ask a simple question while surveys are generally used to ask a variety of questions.

Polls do allow you to ask multiple choice questions.

Participants can choose between the answers you have provided.

You can limit the 'picker' to select only one answer to your question or allow them to select multiple answers.

You also have the option to add an 'Other' field to allow 'voters' to enter their own answers.

Research survey allows you to ask a few questions in a variety of types of questions.

You can ask for comments, email addresses, names, and more, as well as many questions.

It is quite natural for a human being to be curious about other people.

In particular, humans are very interested in knowing why people do the things they do.

The better we understand each other's motivations, the better we can serve each other.

We know that at the most basic level (1) trust and (2) priorities determine the extent to which a person does something.

Both are the building blocks of information that shape human decision making.

However, trust and priority are either 'available' or 'default'.

While technological advances have continued, human beings have not yet succeeded in inventing tools that allow you to read one's mind.

So instead we take what appears to be the best thing to use: just ask people what they believe and what their values are, what researchers call survey findings.

Survey research only makes sense if and only if honest people report their beliefs and priorities.

The value of survey research is directly linked to this basic assumption.

However, in the facts of life, we have the ability to intrude on ourselves.

And there are always reasons and why to do so.

For example, your willingness to pay and buy new luxury watches may depend on who asks.

You may be willing to pay more than the amount to attract your friends as you negotiate with the salesperson.

Or, if you're too obsessed with that person, and will be willing to sacrifice everything to make sure that person remains your leader.

Because we are free to deny ourselves, it raises the question of whether surveys can provide the right view of what people truly believe and appreciate.

The cause of this problem is the 'topic of cheap discussion.' In one survey, there was no causal effect on self-deception.

The problem is even worse because we often want to tell what people want to hear, also known as the Hawthorne effect.

The result is a survey of beliefs and priorities are often biased.

Compare this to making a purchase.

If you buy something you don't want, you'll regret making the purchase.

Likewise in choosing 'leadership', if you choose those you disagree with, you will also be in the 'auction' or losing end later.

Therefore, there is a strong incentive to make decisions that match your true beliefs and priorities.

Implementing and doing wise actions is more effective than words.

This does not mean that all survey questions are unreliable.

There is no reason to misinterpret, for example, your gender or higher education level.

In fact, the answers to these types of questions can be objectively verified.

However, questions that require evaluation of reporting values or beliefs are prone to bias because they are subjective.

Humanities science is the only area where this can be discussed again.

Therefore, it is a 'temptation' to simply believe what someone says about themselves.

However, this does not prevent researchers from maintaining a high standard of obtaining reliable views.

Azizi Ahmad Bebas News Columnists 08 January 2020