Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Problem With Polls . . .

Polls are accurate up to a point. They are indicators of public sentiment. But the devil is in the details, the details being: how the polling question is asked, or when, where and to whom a question is asked. For instance, Republican candidate, Mitt Romney is doing terribly in our poll of "Who Will Be the Next President". But 80% of our readers are from the Fort Worth area and Mitt Romney has relatively low name ID here. He is spending his advertising dollars in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina where, to finish the thought, he is doing very well in the polls.

The problem with a "Best of" poll, as in the case of the hamburger poll, is that the results can not reflect all the intricacies. What I mean is that name identification is a factor that can't be weighed in a poll like this. Which is why, when a newspaper does a "Best of" poll for restaurants by category, I consider them mostly popularity contests, not best food contests. Usually, you get a better idea of the real Best by asking the food editors where they spend their money.

Kinkaid's has been around a long time, has a loyal following and I like their hamburger. It is my first choice for all around value, plus, I love the simplicity of the place. But does it have the best hamburger? If you weigh in the factor that Fred's has a lot less name ID but still received (as I write this) 25 % of the vote, it made a very respectable accounting for itself. Tommy's isn't what it once was and it doesn't surprise me that it isn't doing well.

By the way, for those of you interested in this kind of thing, Tradesports is a fascinating way to follow trends in sports and politics. Essentially, Tradesports is a futures market for events. Any event can be traded. I am told that they are better indicators of future events because of the seriousness of those putting their money into their prediction.

And that's it for the hamburger poll. Kinkaid's is the winner but Fred's is a top choice.

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