It seems everyone — including the Presidential candidates themselves — are paying close attention to the polls. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing. But polls are only a perspective of the political reality at the moment. Let me explain…
Yes, I’m Free
First off, you need to find people who not only agree to be polled, but will give you truthful answers. A lot of voters — myself included — politely decline to give our political opinions publicly. Others — particularly those in a group — might give answers counter to their true feelings, so as to prevent arguments with their friends.
Next, you need to constantly find new people to poll, otherwise you’ll end up with the same results. Getting reaction after an event (debate, candidate gaffe, etc.) from those who you’ve previously polled is okay, but you can’t realistically poll the same people all the time and still call your polls accurate.
Then you have to think about who is being polled, and where they’re being polled from. What I mean is that if you’re only polling supporters of one candidate in the elections office of that candidate, it stands to reason that your results will skew in favor of that person.
Just Here for the Free Shirt
And then there are the rallies. Donald Trump loves to point to the attendance at his rallies as compared to Hillary Clinton’s events. Rallies are also an inaccurate way to measure voter intentions, for a few reasons.
Some folks are only there to be part of the action, to protest or poke fun, or to learn more about the candidate (undecided).
Going to a rally is often a day-long commitment. I’ve been to plenty, and I can tell you that even to get a seat way in the back, you have to show up at least two hours early, then stay for the rally, then wait in traffic to get home. Most rallies are scheduled during the week, which means you’d have to take time off work to be there. Not a lot of people can just take a random Tuesday off.
Have to Start Somewhere
The bottom line is that no one can really know what’s going to happen on election day, especially not in an unprecedented election like this one. Polls and attendance tallies can give you an idea of what’s to come, but they’re not always accurate. Plus, there’s always room for a surprise on election night!
by Oliver So