WGRZ-TV (Channel 2) frequently runs unscientific viewer polls on issues. Just about 100 percent of the time they are silly.
And that was the case again Monday night when it ran an online poll asking viewers: "How do the protests change the likelihood that you'll attend or watch an NFL game." The question didn't mention what the protests were about. It gave three choices: "I'm more likely to watch," "It doesn't change anything" or "I'm less likely to watch."
On the 10 p.m. news, anchor Kelly Dudzik didn't note that the poll was unscientific. She did at 11 p.m.
At 10 p.m., 70 percent of the voters said the protests would make them less likely to attend or watch, which grew to 72 percent by 11 p.m. We weren’t told how many people voted, which would have been relevant.
If the voting numbers were small that would indicate the results wouldn't be such a big deal. Polls also can be influenced by the wording of questions when there seems to be a right or wrong answer for some people. You also could make the case that people who are upset by the protests may be more likely to vote.
There were several scientific polls Sunday and Monday to counter Channel 2's unscientific poll.
The Bills victory over Denver, which was carried after the New Era Field protest ran on the CBS pregame show, was the highest-rated game of the season at 36.9.
Green Bay's overtime victory over Cincinnati in the second game of the CBS doubleheader had a strong 18.1 rating after the Bills game. Tennessee's blowout of Seattle had a 5.1 rating on WUTV (Channel 29), which is low but suffered opposite the Packer game and because it was a blowout.
Washington's blowout of the Raiders on NBC's Sunday Night Football carried by Channel 2 had a 14.9 rating here, which was 20 percent higher than the SNF average here last year that included important games at the end of the season. It was down 10 percent nationally from the game last season, perhaps because it was a blowout.
Dallas' victory over Arizona on ESPN had an 11.4 local rating, about 30 percent higher than the MNF average of 8.7 here last season.
On Monday night, I tweeted that Channel 2 should be ashamed of itself for using that unscientific poll and I also tweeted out the Bills rating as scientific evidence that the poll's results were foolish.
Channel 2's Michael Wooten defended Channel 2's poll in a response by tweeting: "Equally unscientific to suggest 1 game is representative one way or another. You should know better. We don't claim the polls are scientific."
Actually, Channel 2 didn't explain the poll was unscientific at 10 p.m. It only did at 11 p.m., possibly after reading my tweet.
True, it is only one weekend. But it was the one weekend where people upset by the players' use of their First Amendment right could have turned off the TV to prove their point.
The TV ratings illustrate for at least one NFL weekend, the Buffalo market didn't turn off NFL games because of the protests. It could be different in other NFL markets and in markets that don't have a NFL team if the protests continue.
As I also tweeted Monday night: "The same people who booed the Bills players for taking a knee and expressing themselves were cheering them during game. Very few left game."
I was at the game and didn't see anyone leave. And I doubt many Bills fans will leave the game Sundays either if the team continues to play well. It certainly won't be anywhere near 72 percent of them.