Climate change spin-doctor Tom Harris has a web poll up on his super-duper denialfest website today, asking people to vote on “How likely is it that human-caused carbon dioxide emissions are causing a climate crisis?”
Any guesses what kind of response you get to such a question posted on a website devoted to denying the realities of human-caused global warming?
The problem though with web polls is that they are very, very easy to game. The easiest technique is to simply urge like-minded members on other sites like Free Dominion to come over to your website for a second and cast a vote to show just how wrong those socialist-scheming scientists and Al Gore really are.
Just like I could urge readers of DeSmogBlog to go over to Harris's site and vote up a response that he doesn't agree with - but please don't, it's a serious waste of time.
And if a person is truly motivated to ensure a desired outcome to a web poll they can simply sit at their computer, cast a vote then clear the cookies on their browser, hit refresh on the poll and then vote again. I did this on Harris's poll a couple of times, just to prove my point. The truly sophisticated version of this technique is to use a task automator program to vote, clear cookies, refresh, vote, clear cookies, refresh… over and over (the fastest I ever saw was 1,000 votes in 2 minutes).
The point is that web polls rarely tell you anything other than which side of a given disagreement is desperate enough to waste hours upon hours gaming the outcome of a poll to somehow prove that they're right and everyone else is wrong.
Which in the case of Harris and company may be all they really have left to do.