In The Wisdom of Crowds, journalist James Surowiecki theorizes information collected and aggregated from groups oftentimes provides better results than those provided by single group members or experts. An oft-cited anecdote from the book relates Sir Francis Galton's observations at a 1906 livestock fair. As part of a contest, fairgoers were invited to guess the weight of a butchered ox. Although hundreds of contestants failed to guess the real weight of 1,198 pounds, the mean of the individual guesses rang in at 1,197 pounds.
I have read the Book of James Surowiecki. Heard his audios from youtube.
I am convinced about each and every concept taken in WHOLISTIC manner.
I have done forecasting of pulp wood from agro-forestry in three distinct catchments in India in three years - 2004, 2005, 2006. The results were not believed by any one at first but 2-3 years down the line they were 80% accurate when crops came to market.
One may call these as opinion poll or any other jargon, but the methodology taken in totality gives very accurate results.
One has to set the stage as outlined in the book - large number, diverse, uni-biased, not talking to each other etc etc.