Not real poll

I concur with the commentators in the Oct. 11 story titled “Poll indicates respondents oppose multicultural class” that this is an invalid sampling of student opinion and that most students would probably resist any course labeled “mandatory.” Instead of referring to such activities as a ‘phone poll’ or even an ‘unscientific’ poll, why don’t we call them something else to distinguish them from valid survey research. The could be called ‘newspaper reader responses’ (NRRs), or “person in the street phone in’s” (PITSPIs) or my personal favorite “natural insights (from) the walk in trade” (NITWITs). Whatever we call them, let’s do our best not to confuse them with valid samplings of public opinions and attitudes. The need to educate ourselves about the world in which we live is too great to get bogged down in issues about mandated courses. If a person learns more about their own culture, and a similar amount about at least one other culture, during their undergraduate experience they would be better prepared than most of us are to function in the society of the future.

William C. McCready


Public Opinion Lab