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Early polls can offer some insight into candidates’ weak points – but are extremely imprecise

18 Comments
By W Joseph Campbell

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Iirc these polls are typically only able to call landlines. Not the best way to reach young people. Still, an imperfect tool is better than no tool. The statisticians are usually able to get the popular vote correct within the margin of error before the Electoral College throws everything up in the air to randomness.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

At the end of February four years earlier, the RealClearPolitics polling average indicated that Hillary Clinton was leading Trump by 2.8 points. She won the popular vote by 2.1 points, while losing decisively in the Electoral College.

I remember the certainty with which many were convinced Clinton had the election in the bag, and the shock at the results.

With my slightly outsider perspective on the race both politically and geographically I told people there was a dangerous amount of apathy and dissatisfaction with Hilary.

The polls were very wrong then, I hope the ones showing a Trump lead now are also misleading.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Biden's ONLY demographic he's polling better with today versus February 2020 is TOP 1%. Biden's lost support with ALL of major demographic groups.

Plus, more 3rd parties in 2024, especially JFK & whacky Harvard Prof., both of whom appeal to independents & young voters, two KEY Biden constituencies. Waiting on "No Labels" but their big backer and former VP on Gore's ticket, Lieberman made it clear Biden should step aside.

Above, WHY Odd's makers heavily favor Trump today.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

The 538 poll of polls, average has Trump ahead by about 5pts today. Keep in mind 2020 Census reapportionment favors Trump, he nets more electoral votes to TX, FL, NC, pickups, while NY, PA, MI etc. drop, so an easier 'electoral map' for Trump, harder for d's.

Odd's makers heavily favor Trump today, growing risk Biden steps aside, turns over all delegates to DNC in Aug, decides to not run for 'health reasons'. Democratic superdelegates will 'select' their candidate and Kamala considered unlikely. That's oligarchy democracy!

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Finally, most political analysts believe Biden/d's Choice must win popular vote by 3pts at minimum to win electoral college, given Biden trails by approx. 5pts, looking very challenging indeed, especially as inflation could well be picking up...

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I remember the certainty with which many were convinced Clinton had the election in the bag, and the shock at the results. 

Shocked??? Are you joking?!!!

With my slightly outsider perspective on the race both politically and geographically I told people there was a dangerous amount of apathy and dissatisfaction with Hilary. 

That is somewhat of an understatement….

The polls were very wrong then, I hope the ones showing a Trump lead now are also misleading.

Hardly, and the interesting thing about it is that the left are helping him and don’t even know it.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Polls. Trump 45%. Biden 43%.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

They are running out of time to push Biden aside. Don't ever say Dean Phillips didn't say so. He is a historically unpopular incumbent and the oldest man to ever hold this office.

His polling is bad enough not even taking into consideration the key voting groups alienated with certain controversial foreign policy decisions. Public appearances are becoming fewer and more farcical. Hur report should have been a wakeup call in certain quarters.

With Harris, they have really boxed themselves in. And yet they steam towards the iceberg at full speed without changing course.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

At the same time, the polls have delivered reminders that they can be less than precise indicators of outcomes

The polls are just a tool, not the ones making the predictions, many times the problem is people not doing their jobs properly and instead go to the easy exit of just presenting a pool without any proper analysis. A professional should take many things into account (including polls) before making an educated guess, sometimes other factors will be more important.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Polls, polls, nothing new under the sun!! The primitive enchanters, and fortune tellers used vodoo, animal blood and every disgusting tarrots to predict the future. Today the educated enchanters and fortune tellers use statistical analysis. The tools have changed but the results remains the same.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Today the educated enchanters and fortune tellers use statistical analysis. The tools have changed but the results remains the same.

An easy way to see who are actually professionals and who are just guessing around is that the professionals accept they were wrong when they fail their predictions, the others blame the polls.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

 many times the problem is people not doing their jobs properly and instead go to the easy exit of just presenting a pool without any proper analysis.

Ahh, that's not the "problem" here; or whatever it is you are trying to say,

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Ahh, that's not the "problem" here; or whatever it is you are trying to say,

Since apparently you can't even argue this claim the only thing you can say is that you personally believe this is not the problem here. Imposing a belief as fact is not valid.

So what proper analysis was done (beyond just presenting a poll and saying it would lead to a prediction)? that is the minimum you need to present to have an argument.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"An easy way to see who are actually professionals and who are just guessing around is that the professionals accept they were wrong when they fail their predictions, the others blame the polls."

No professionalism in both categories, it's all lies. The polls are not the problem but the results

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

No professionalism in both categories, it's all lies. 

Of course you have evidence for this, professionalism is not measured in being absolutely precise, but in assuming the unpredictability of politics and reflect that in the predictions when they are right and when they are wrong.

The polls are not the problem but the results

Again, polls are only tools, and following a proper methodology allows for results better than chance even if not 100% precise, the problem is pretending anything below 100% is equal to chance when this is not the case.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Polls present a political moment in time outside the polling booth. A method to collecting data, voting intention /insights from a group of people.

A flaw is that polls and surveys hold little or no contextual information on respondents. is the uncertainly of the don't knows/undecided.

The major flaw this is to then model in unpredictable element into a error rate.

Improving election polling methodologies

https://www.lse.ac.uk/Research/research-impact-case-studies/2021/improving-election-polling-methodologies

I don't for one moment believe there is a formula to second guess voters behaviour inside a voting booth.

First and foremost it is a secret ballot, would you tell a complete stranger your voting intentions?

In all honesty it is doubtful.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Trump is not my first choice, but definitely a better choice than a guy who can't talk and can only barely walk. I'm all for a female POTUS, but it should never be Harris.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Trump is not my first choice, but definitely a better choice than a guy who can't talk and can only barely walk.

The guy who can't remember what election he is in, or who is opponents are, is better than the guy who is running the country amazingly right now?

Right-wingers are idiots. Dumb as posts.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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