Friday, October 21, 2016

Why the polls are unreliable

This makes a lot of sense:
There's no way to tell what people think. It's impossible for most Americans to form a judgment with which they feel comfortable, because they do not have sources of information they can trust. Fox News is in a civil war between the pro- and anti-Trump Republicans. The other networks are with Hillary. The major media outlets have lost credibility. Only 32% of Americans said they had "a great deal" or "a fair amount" of confidence in the news media in a September Gallup Poll survey. That's the lowest level in history, and should be no surprise: the major media has to spin a new cover-up every couple of days, before it is finished putting the previous set of lies to bed. 
That's why Americans don't simply watch the nightly news and go to bed. They read the rumors on the Internet and circulate them to their friends. They create networks of people they trust in the hope of obtaining an accurate account of what is happening around them.
All that's left to add is that people don't trust pollsters, either.  Some unknown number of them distrust random phone callers that they won't participate in the poll.  This skews the sample by some unknown amount.

The normal rules of political campaigning don't seem to be in play this year.


SiGraybeard said...

After about November 1st it will be time to start paying attention. At that point, the pollsters will be trying to solidify their reputation for the paying customers instead of just trying to be heard above the background din of the nightly news. Everyone wants to be able to advertise they got it right and, to some degree, the earlier the better.

However, having been one who second guessed the polls last time, with what appeared to be sampling errors, non-representative samples and what not, I'm not going to go there again. Just like I use "engineering judgement" in whether or not I believe a circuit simulation, I think there's "pollster judgement" in how to do what they do.

Rick T said...

I responded to a computer-driven poll recently, but I just hit "1" for every answer. Now I'm an 18-25 year old unmarried hispanic female who voted for Hillary in the primary....

Garbage in, Garbage out. Waste their time and their customer's money.

Guffaw in AZ said...

The only poll that matters is election day.


Cecil Henry said...

This is so very true:

People know its all lies and coercion.

' They read the rumors on the Internet and circulate them to their friends. They create networks of people they trust in the hope of obtaining an accurate account of what is happening around them.'

selsey.steve said...

Before the Brexit referendum the pollsters were unanimous in their claims that the Remainers would win, the only question was by how much. When the result became known early in the morning of 24th June it became obvious that the pollsters had got things very wrong.
Why did they get it wrong? Firstly all of the polls were conducted by London-centric organisations which all favoured remaining in the EU and the poll questions were slanted towards that view.
Secondly, the vitriol spewed by the Remainers on anyone who indicated that they would vote Leave caused many to blatantly lie when answering polls or even when speaking with friends, acquaintances and work colleagues.
Thirdly, and probably of great importance, the politicians, senior civils servants and bankers who all spoke of the doom awaiting Britain if a Leave vote won ran out of any sort of credibility well before the Brexit vote. The population at large had long since awoken to the fact that they were being fed bovine excreta not facts about Brexit and they voted for what THEY wanted and not the way they were being told to vote.

Ted said...

Just the lack of signs for either candidate in an area that is normally knee deep in Democratic party signs in what is traditionally a one party state leads me to believe there is a HUUUUGE unseen Brexit effect boiling behind the scenes. We shall see.