The polls are not helping

2016 Election 2016 Presidential Polls

Source: RealClearPolitics – 2016 Election 2016 Presidential Polls


If this election is proving anything – to me, at least – it is proving that polls are al over the place, and therefore both singly and collectively unhelpful in judging the zeitgeist.

If I were a pollster when this was all over, I’d be taking a long, hard look at my craft and wonering whether this might not be a good time to throw away the book on public opinion research and start all over again.

Just my stressed-out $0.02.

Hope you’re having a great day.

4 thoughts on “The polls are not helping

  1. I think here on Day Zero of the Trump Era that the polls were right all along, but that pollsters can only report the data they are given.

    And it has become clear that somewhere around 5-10% of your fellow citizens were simply too embarrassed to admit in advance they were going to vote for Trump.

    Which, of course, is terrifying, for all sorts of reasons.

    • We will never know. Or, it is possible, that rather than be too embarrassed to vote for Trump, they got cold feet about voting for her, believing that by doing so they were at best ratifying the status quo.

      • Or the “she’s going to win HUGE!” narrative that developed before the Comey-gram meant that a lot of people simply thought they didn’t need to show up and stand in a long line.

        “The polls got it wrong!!” is way too simplistic an answer in any of these cases.

      • My point was not that the polls got it wrong (keep in mind I posted this article well in advance of Election Day.) It was, rather, that the polls were all over the place, and thus offered little guidance to how the election was really going. Ergo, I think that the value of using polling as it is currently practiced is limited, and that we should take all polls with a very large block of salt.

        I could expand on this and engage in a reasonable deconstruction of survey-based market research in general, but that’s for another time and place.

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