The Imperfect Science of Polling

By Michael Todd

As human beings, we all have a propensity to gravitate to the familiar. So we tend to frequent politically like-minded websites and social media platforms. As a result, people tend to become anxious and hostile to differing points of view and recede even deeper into the political echo chamber, agreeing with their points of view. Political analysts often make this mistake when judging voter engagement. By frequenting places like twitter, many pollsters falsely believe that voters are as engaged in the process. These usually are sanctuaries for the more partisan elements of society to voice their opinions and frustration to similarly minded people. As a measure, this gives a false impression of voter sentiment and enthusiasm for a particular candidate.

Another factor is liberal bias and the questionable methods used, which reflect inaccurate polling results. One of the ways that will continually result in misleading polling results is the significant skew towards Democrats over Republicans. Republicans make up about one-third of the electorate, and democrats make up another third, but recent polls taken by many firms are dramatically undersampling republicans. This provides the researcher with a favorable outcome, but it lends credence to the prospect of fake polling.

Liberal media’s attempt to demonize Trump voters has created a variable that is impossible to measure. When most people feel threatened, they tend to withhold vital information when having conversations with others. The same thing applies to political polling surveys. As a consequence, they recoil when providing information about political issues or ideological bent.

There is also a significant difference between registered voters and likely voters. While someone might be registered to vote, it doesn’t mean they are enthusiastic enough to cast a ballot. An example of this was Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 bid, and her decision not to make repeated trips to the rustbelt states. While states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania showed significant support amongst registered voters, likely votes began to break for Trump two to three weeks before the election.
Polls do not reflect the frustrated voters in the Democrat states that are being ravaged by riots, protests, the anti-police movement, COVID 19, lockdowns, etc. Nor do they reflect the disenfranchised voters who left the Democrat party and became Trump voters.

So what does this mean for the accuracy of polling? While many polling methodologies show a propensity to serve as propaganda rather than an accurate gauge for public sentiment, others are continually revising their models to help provide more accurate results. While clearing away the disconnect is somewhat challenging; this opens to the door for newer voices to enter the fray and develop improved procedures.

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