1/ Many times my friend @girlziplocked tried to impress upon me the importance of free-form (albeit carefully-guided) interviews, and how they're neglected in favor of polls. I agreed in theory but not practice -- mostly because I have the tools that make the later convenient.
2/ Now, near the end of my dissertation, the deviation between the two has become almost an ever-present fear. I'm still writing up the relevant discussion section, but here's how I would put it:
Polls aren't polls; they're pushes.
3/ When we take polls and compute statistics on them, we think we're measuring what a person believes, albeit subject to sampling noise both in terms of who we picked *and what they happened to emit at the time* (think RAS).