• In the Spotlight:
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

She's Not A Candidate, So Why Do So Many People Have An Opinion Of Her?

Posted by on May. 17, 2015 at 2:42 PM
  • 7 Replies

She's Not A Candidate, So Why Do So Many People Have An Opinion Of Her?

Nearly a quarter of respondents to a recent poll had an opinion on Political Science Professor Emily Farris, who is not running for anything.

Nearly a quarter of respondents to a recent poll had an opinion on Political Science Professor Emily Farris, who is not running for anything.

Courtesy Emily Farris

Emily Farris teaches a survey research class at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas.

She has no national profile. She's 31, which is too young to be president and besides, she told NPR, she has "no kind of political aspirations. I like my job a lot."

Yet, nearly a quarter of likely primary voters who responded to a recent poll said they have an opinion of her. And it was overwhelmingly negative.

Farris jokingly tweeted at Public Policy Polling, a Democratic polling firm with a reputation for sometimes asking wacky questions, asking it to include her in its next survey, "as someone with no national profile."

She said it was meant to be a joke. PPP, which is an automated poll, actually did it.

The result? Twenty-three percent of the more than 1,200 respondents had an opinion of Farris. Three percent of respondents said they liked her; 20 percent had an "unfavorable" opinion of her; the rest — 77 percent — answered "not sure."

PPP conducted a similar experiment the week of May 6, a week before the poll with Farris' name, in which they included Detroit Free Press reporter Paul Egan. Thirteen percent of respondents to that poll had an opinion on Egan.

The big lesson for Farris, who is already thinking about how she'll work this experiment into her next political science class, is in "pseudo-opinions."

"People will offer an opinion when they don't actually have one," she said. "There is social pressure to answer, and give some type of opinion, whether it's right or wrong."

In fact, Farris teaches a similar experiment in her class. In the 1980s, researchers found a sizable percentage of respondents — about 30 percent — gave an opinion on a made-up piece of legislation, the "1975 Public Affairs Act."

For a more recent example, see late-night TV:

And as for why respondents' "pseudo-opinions" of Farris were mostly negative, she explained it this way: "They probably, most likely, I'm guessing, don't know me."

That's the same battle most of the actual candidates are fighting, too.

Nerds Without Pants

by on May. 17, 2015 at 2:42 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-7):
Lady_Facetious
by Gold Member on May. 17, 2015 at 5:02 PM
Hmmmm.

I think people may not actually pay that much attention to the questions they are asked, and the questions that preceded the question about her gave more people a feeling of dislike, so they assumed they disliked her. Or those people who disliked her on the survey didn’t like her name or maybe they just don't like women in politics. I think an interesting thing would be to follow up and ask those who answered favorably or unfavorably why they felt that way.
Sisteract
by Whoopie on May. 17, 2015 at 10:10 PM

And as for why respondents' "pseudo-opinions" of Farris were mostly negative, she explained it this way: "They probably, most likely, I'm guessing, don't know me."

That's the same battle most of the actual candidates are fighting, too.


Yep.

LGA1165
by on May. 17, 2015 at 11:35 PM
I have never heard of her .
NWP
by guerrilla girl on May. 17, 2015 at 11:37 PM

That's the point. No one has yet folks still listed a negative opinion anyway.

Quoting LGA1165: I have never heard of her .


Nerds Without Pants

LGA1165
by on May. 17, 2015 at 11:39 PM
But if people don't know who she is that means they don't know she exists which is why I have no opinion .

Quoting NWP:

That's the point. No one has yet folks still listed a negative opinion anyway.

Quoting LGA1165: I have never heard of her .

btamilee
by on May. 18, 2015 at 8:04 AM

 .....thats exactly what this is meant to show.  How easily people form opinions.....without having any real facts.

Quoting LGA1165: But if people don't know who she is that means they don't know she exists which is why I have no opinion .
Quoting NWP:

That's the point. No one has yet folks still listed a negative opinion anyway.

Quoting LGA1165: I have never heard of her .

 

Ms.KitKat
by Ruby Member on May. 18, 2015 at 8:15 AM

This is actaully quite scary; forming opinions based on no facts.

Although it does explain a lot.

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)