Online polls have an instant satisfaction quality that is superficially appealing. You select the answer that best matches your thoughts, click submit, and then see the results.

Or do you?

I do not. I often find myself selecting not the answer that I think is right but the answer that will get the most votes. A sort of miniature version of the Family Fued, if you will. I’m not sure why I do this. Perhaps I’m just flawed in a multiple choice sort of way. It seems to me that it takes less mental work to figure what answer is going to “win” than it does to decide what I really think. I can avoid introspection entirely and skip straight to judgementalism.

The sad thing is that if I didn’t get to the results instantly I’d probably be more inclined to put some thought into my answer.

So next time you see the results of a poll that I might have voted in remember: it is probably even less accurate than it might have been.

Would you approve or disapprove of the job President Obama is doing as President?

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