Thursday, March 18, 2010

Polls controlling the debate

Here's the latest from the California Senate Race:

"Boxer vulnerable for re-election"

This comes from a new poll of course, in this case a Field poll. What many consider the top gold standard in California.

I believe in freedom of the press but the problem is that the newspaper editors take this information, whether it's valid or not, an outlier or not, and promote a political view. Whomever wrote this headline either is anti-Boxer or wants to get readers excited about a close race.

The headline helps to create a narrative that then must be dealt with.
I remember a story based on this same pollster from 2008:

A startling surge of support for Barack Obama has catapulted the Illinois senator into a virtual tie with Hillary Rodham Clinton in California's Democratic presidential primary, a Field Poll released Saturday shows.

That poll showed Clinton barely defeating a surging Obama 45 -43. That following Tuesday Clinton won easily by 10 percentage points.

But that storyline causing attention, and demands a response from the candidate, maybe even resources. When in reality it might not be true. It could be that the story brought a 15 point race to being a 10 point race.

Another pollster at the time Surveyusa had it a double digit race the whole time. What if that was the poll that the media clung onto?

But then that wouldn't be as exciting.

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