Monday, 1 September 2014

YahooNZ's news polls

Another YahooNZ poll': September 1st

"Do you think Dirty Politics is distracting from more important issues this election?" 

Results at the time of writing this:

Yes. absolutely

77%  (5622)  

No, it's important

22%  (1619)   

I'm not sure

1%  (66)    

The capitals on 'Dirty Politics' clearly indicate that the question refers to Nicky Hager's bestselling book  and, by logical extension, the issues the book exposes.

As is often the case with the YahooNZ poll, the question is badly worded and seems designed to elicit a particular outcome.  If we  believe this 'poll' is representative of all New Zealanders, it suggests that almost 8 out of 10 Kiwis are so stupid and / or so amoral they consider what has proven to be the tip of an iceberg of corruption and dirty dealings, to be a distraction from 'more important issues'.

What could be more important than the proven existence of a conspiracy to push the dominant party in parliament further to the far-Right by the smearing of political opponents inside the party? Or smearing and threatening people who stand in the way of the interests of big business?  Or top ranking government ministers fast tracking OIA requests from a far-Right and utterly vicious blogger  to use to smear the opposition? Or the compromising of key government institutions like the SFO, FMA and SIS?  And let's not forget the evidence of the complacency, compliance and outright connivance of parts of the mainstream media.

t is impossible to separate out  'more important issues' given the corruption and dirty dealings  in, and close to, the National Party go right to the top of government and are completely entwined with wider socio-economic and political concerns - they influence and affect ALL other issues facing the NZ electorate.   

Getting back to the daily 'news poll' on Yahoo!NZ.

I've wondered before whether this 'poll' is rigged. It's clearly not reflective of public opinion so, the issue of the inept wording of the questions and possible answers aside, is it possible to vote multiple times to push the poll in a particular direction? (1)

I also think it's odd that the percentages on the poll never vary by more than 1 or 2 points (and mostly stay fixed) from the very outset of voting to the close. 

If the poll only allows one response per ISP address and therefore may be argued to be a fairly accurate reflection of the people who have YahooNZ as their home page or who use the site to garner news,  it means the site attracts a disproportionate number of people who consistently come down on the very conservative side of almost all questions.   

There is a demonstrable lack of intellectual and professional rigour from the people who run the site so is it a case of dumb attracts dumbed down?  This if course begs the question why I am still visiting it - it's a purely academic interest I assure you.

I've said before - half-jokingly - that YahooNZ is aptly named in light of the Swiftian derivation of the word as the name of the race of ignorant, brutish creatures in Gulliver's Travels which gave rise to the use of 'yahoo'  to describe rude, noisy or violent people.  

Given Telecom persists in using YahooNZ  as its email provider despite Yahoo's lamentable performance in that role, perhaps we need to be asking Telecom what it thinks of the content of YahooNZ's website. (2)  

I remember the role that the infamous Telecom Xtra message boards played in the lead up to the 2008 elections.  They were one of the hunting grounds for the totally rightwing obnoxious loud-mouthed louts whose  MO was personalised, vicious attacks on - well, just about everyone who wasn't one of them.  If they had no hard facts to back up their nasty allegations, they simply made them up, secure in the belief that enough of their mud would stick - and that the calm, quiet voices of reason would not be heard above their howling and caterwauling.

(1) The 'should Judith Collins go' question a few days ago showed 75%  (from memory) thinking she should go which is interesting given it preceded the leaked email that gave Key the Hager-free excuse to force her resignation; and was followed by a poll which asked if National's chances had improved since Collins resignation with a similar percentage saying 'yes'.)

(2)I know Telecom is now called Spark but it's such a stupid name I can't yet bring myself to use it.

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