Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Polling industry fails again

Once again, after a full onslaught of polls, constantly duplicating themselves, from various polling outfits, on the eve before a big primary election that is known for it's historic volatility:
no polls for 1/30/2012 Florida Primary
That's right.
Not one report from any company that could tell whether Newt Gingrich has momentumover or not.
Two polls which surveyed dates  from 1/28 and 1/29 had the race at 5 and 7 points.  It's true others showed a larger lead but often the polling tide begins with one outlier that turns out to be the start of a trend.

What difference does it make since we're going to get actual results tonight?

The media is very lazy.  They are also ideologically focused on "the winner".  They determine that from the polls.  This hyper-focus on election day drives turnout one way or the other.  It's marginal but it's real.

If you're supporting "the loser" based on the coverage, then there's subtle pressure not to vote. It is disheartening to vote for the losing candidate unless there is a special bond or cause that personally motivates you.

For some reason, we all like to be associated with the winning campaign, as if it was "us" who put them over the top.

That's why even an ambiguous set of polls can help motivate the voters of the underdog:
"So you're saying there's a chance"!

This phenomena that keeps occurring gives reason why I support government intervention into free markets overall.  It's clear we as a nation would be better off with polling results all the way up to election day IF media as a whole is addicted to talking about the race in terms of polls.

I'd probably support a law that mandated networks to use current polling data from the election eve if they wanted to mention ANY polls on election day.  Or I'd probably go even more liberal and fund some college classes to actually do the polling and put the information out there so the media spin is at least accurate.

democratic polling firm Publicpolicypolling (ppp) has released one poll from 1/30. Good for them.  They have shown themselves to be among the best.  Hopefully there's more polls released from yesterday.

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