About those polls…

Do you share my frustration with all the talk about polls? Do you dismiss the candidates’ bragging about their standings in the polls as a bunch of malarkey? For a look at “data science” that confirms the skepticism, read Jill Lepore’s piece in the November 16 New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/11/16/politics-and-the-new-machine

Some tidbits:

*The pool of respondents is demographically controlled.

*Responses to polls have steadily declined over the decades. “A typical response rate is now in the single digits.” (Two hundred million Americans are eligible to vote.)

* Television debate opportunities are determined by standings in the polls. “I didn’t think my job was to design polling so that Fox could pick people for a debate.” -Bill McInturff, co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies.

Lepore cites the history of polling and the compromises pollsters have made through the years, including some saavy and not-so-saavy “guesstimates.” (Dewey/Truman. Eisenhower/Stevenson.) Lepore also examines the role of journalism vis-a-vis polling, as well as the ways in which the internet complicates the decisions based on polls. Do our Congress members regard online poll results as mandates from their constituents?

“If you look at the polls, a lot of people like the way I talk” –Donald Trump.

What polls? Who (how many) participated? What “psychology” was blended with poll results to reach a conclusion?

And those unremitting phone calls with the same unrecognizable numbers…Pollsters?? If others share my lack of response, what do the polls mean?  If anything.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s