Polling Issues

Problems with the Poll

If no poll is done, there is an obvious basis for appeal. If it can be argued that the wrong class of players was selected, or that the question is wrong, that is a basis for appeal.

Polls also have a problem that you are using only a few answers to try to estimate the true answer in a very large population. They could be wrong for that reason too. For example, if we poll 5 bridge players and find that 60% prefer Elvis Presley over Frank Sinatra, that does not mean that exactly 60% of bridge players prefer Presley over Sinatra. The actual percentage could be anything -- for example, it could be that only 10% prefer Presley.

However, there are two big caveats here. First, if the poll finds that 60% prefer Presley, the best estimate for the true percentage is 60%. Yes, the value could be smaller. But it could also be larger. If you like Sinatra, you can add yourself to the poll and get an estimate that 50% prefer Presley. But it is completely illogical to conclude that only 20% prefer Presley just because you don't. But as far as I can see, there otherwise is no basis for appeal on this.

Adding Themselves to a Poll

In theory, AC members can add themselves to a poll. However, there are several problems with doing that. One is of the committee first finds out that, for example, 4H is a great contract. Now they need to decide if pass is a logical alternative versus the suggested bid of 4H. Essentially, they are being asked whether they would make the good bid of 4H or the bad bid of passing. This biases their answer -- they are more likely to choose the good bid. This does not have to be conscious.

A second problem is if the committee's answers are not independent. If you were a director polling 4 people, you would never ask them as a group. It would go without saying that the first answer could bias the other answers. This problem becomes huge if one of the committee members starts arguing that a call is or is not a logical alternative.

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