What's the difference between "rating", "ranking", and "poll"?

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A "ranking" is simply an ordinal number (such as 1st, 2nd, 3rd,...) that indicates a team's placement in a strictly non-quantitative sense. In contrast, a team's "rating" is generally a continuous scale measurement and must be interpretted on a scale by comparing it with other teams' ratings. For example, I can rank three teams as follows: (1) Team A, (2) Team B, (3) Team C. This tells me that according to my ranking criteria, A is better than B, and B is better than C. However, it does not tell me how much better. If ratings are assigned as (A = 9.7, B = 9.5, C = 1.2), then it is easy to see that in fact A and B are quite competitive while C is significantly inferior. A poll is fundamentally different from a rating. Polls typically result from the tabulation of votes. For example, each ballot in college football's AP poll is the opinion of one writer who should be #1,#2,#3, etc. So a poll is really a composite of many opionions or preferences. In contrast, a computer ranking is ...
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