Can you really believe the polls?

October 18th, 2020 by Ken

American political pollsters have been under fire every since they blew the 2016 Presidential Election and failed to predict the ascension of Donald Trump to the top elective seat in the country.  There are nearly two dozen national pollsters operating in the United States,  and all of them predicted that Hillary Clinton would win.

That national embarrassment sent them back to their process and a better understanding of the national make-up.  They did better in the 2018 election and predicted the Democrats would take control of the House and the Republicans would retain control of the Senate, but they weren’t as certain in their process as they had been in the past.

I’m not going to bore you with what they did, what they did wrong, and what they’ve changed, but it had to do with the arrogance of the educated elite.  In the past, most polling had been done in major cities without a thought to the rural areas.  Most polling had been done by educational universities which concentrated its polling to those with college educations.  Trump’s election showed that those without a college degree also vote and had often been ignored by the pollsters.

In the past, many pollsters used phone interviews because it was easier.  They could do robo calls until they reached a real live person.  By law, they cannot use robo calls on cell phones.  Now, nearly 90 percent of all Americans have a cell phone.  Those with land line are predominately older (I’m not going to use the word elderly).

Polling in 2020 is still trying to determine its future.  And, while it will be better this year, it is still unreliable as a predictor of the present.

By the way.  We have a well-known local pollster who many cities and counties hire to do survey work on controversial local matters like taxes.    In the past decade, I have been called by this firm at least half a dozen times.   I’m going to tell you a secret.  I always lie.  No matter what the question, I lie about my answer.  When you see that “margin of error” as 2- 3 or even 4 percent.  I’m that margin of error.

Posted in Business, Government, History, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News

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