Thoughts on the Use of Online Opinion Polling by a Gray Lady and a Peacock
To qualify candidates for the recent 2015 GOP debate, Fox News used results from polls conducted by Bloomberg, CBS News, Fox News, Monmouth University and Quinnipiac University. The fact that all five studies were conducted via telephone is not a coincidence.
Although web-based surveys are prevalent within the market research industry, they have not been widely embraced by the opinion-research field, and news outlets generally avoid reporting on findings based on online panels. The reason, as ABC News explains in its current polling standards:
Methodologically, in all or nearly all cases we require a probability-based sample, with high levels of coverage of a credible sampling frame. Non-probability, self-selected or so-called “convenience” samples, including internet opt-in, e-mail, “blast fax,” call-in, street intercept and non-probability mail-in samples do not meet our standards for validity and reliability, and we recommend against reporting them.