Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Wednesday | September 25, 2002

Polls lie

I had been meaning to post about this for some time, but Dick Morris beat me to it: polling sucks. In short, the number of hangups and opt-outs are providing pollsters with skewed demographic data. In some states, up to 30 percent of households are off-limits to pollsters.

In addition to Morris' arguments, there are also problems with poll questions (who would answer "no" to the question, "Do you support President Bush's efforts to ensure the national security of the United States?") and even methodology. For example, many polls try to pinpoint "likely voters" by identifying those who have voted in the previous three elections. However, that approach cannot measure the effects of Get Out The Vote efforts in poor communities, or new immigrant voters in states like Texas, California, New Mexico and Arizona. Or new, younger voters.

Which ultimately means that polls are becoming increasingly inaccurate.

I've never taken polls as accurate measures of a race's final outcome. They are useful in other ways -- to gauge momentum, to get a feel of who is the frontrunner, to measure the effects of debates, speeches, gaffes, etc.

So, whenever you look at the "Poll Watch" on the right column of the homepage, just remember, the numbers are all foma: they are lies.

(Thanks Political Wire.)

Posted September 25, 2002 07:57 AM | Comments (3)


Bush Administration
Business and Economy
Foreign Policy

© 2002. Steal all you want.
(For non-commercial use, that is.)