Posts Tagged ‘Registered voters’

UNDERSTANDING FAKE & REAL POLLS

INTRODUCTION

With two exceptions, the presidential polls in the 2016 election were completely wrong.  If you knew those two exceptions in advance, you could have predicted the outcome of the election.  I did and therefore was 75% certain that Donald J. Trump would become our next President.  It was really simple:  I looked at the polls that accurately predicted the 2012 presidential election.  There were only two, one of which polled daily, the Rasmussen daily presidential tracking poll.

BODY

I thought it was simply the media funding fake polls in order to create a bandwagon effect for their politician.  However, I decided to examine polls and find out why they differed so much.  The following is what I learned:

a) The design of a poll can easily create any outcome the pollster wants.  For example, the pollster determines what percentage of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents s/he polls.  These percentage largely determine the results of a poll.

b) Whether the poll is of: a) all adults, b) registered voters, or c) likely voters,  is the next most important factor in determining the results of a poll.  Only half of all adults vote, 80% of registered voters, and over 90% of likely voters.  The most accurate poll of the President is the Rasmussen daily presidential tracking poll which polls likely voters.  It currently has President Trump at 46% approval and 54% disapproval.

c) The way in which poll questions are worded can significantly influence the results of the poll.  For example, a question can be worded: 1) do approve of the the President? OR 2) do you approve of the President’s job performance? OR 3) do you like the President? OR 4) etc., etc., etc.  Often poll questions are ambiguous and therefor the results can’t be trusted.

d) How many people you poll is very important in order to get a representative sample.  Nothing under a 1000-person-poll is very reliable.

e) How you select the people to be polled is very important.  For example, only selecting people from the inner city would result in an overwhelming number of people favoring a Democrat.  It would not be a representative sample, however.  Same is true for a poll conducted of New Yorkers only.

f) Who is sponsoring the poll is extremely important.  A poll funded by the New York Times, Washington Post, or CNN will not depict a Republican President favorably because those newspapers and TV station have a partisan agenda and are therefore unreliable.

CONCLUSION

I’ve attempted to show how polls can be manipulated to persude public opinion rather that guage public opinion.  I believe that most political polls are seriously flawed and therefore I don’t believe them to be reliable.  Past performance is the best way to judge a poll.  For example, the Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll I believe to be the best of all of the Presidential polls, based on its past performance in both the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections.  Looking at past performance, therefore, is the quickest and easiest way to determine how accurate or misleading a poll might be.

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