When you see the Hillary-vs-Trump polls, here are two things you need to know:
- When they show Trump is behind, he’s tied.
- When they show Trump is tied, he’s ahead — by a landslinde.
As I demonstrated in yesterday’s article, How Bloomberg Spun its Own Poll Data to Make Hillary Clinton Seem Inevitable, the media is intentionally spinning poll results at best, and completely fabricating them at worst.
While that’s bad enough, there are also some deep, fundamental problems which plague any attempts to conduct accurate polling in 2016. Cliff Zukin, professor of public policy and political science at Rutgers University and a past president of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, wrote about many of these issues in a 2015 New York Times opinion piece titled, What’s the Matter With Polling?
Here are a few excerpts:
Election polling is in near crisis, and we pollsters know. Two trends are driving the increasing unreliability of election and other polling in the United States: the growth of cellphones and the decline in people willing to answer surveys. Coupled, they have made high-quality research much more expensive to do, so there is less of it. This has opened the door for less scientifically based, less well-tested techniques. To top it off, a perennial election polling problem, how to identify “likely voters,” has become even thornier.
Those paying close attention to the 2016 election should exercise caution as they read the polls. Because of the high cost, the difficulty in locating the small number of voters who will actually turn out in primaries and the increasing reliance on non-probability Internet polls, you are likely to see a lot of conflicting numbers. To make matters still worse, the cellphone problem is more acute in states than it is at the national level, because area codes and exchanges often no longer respect state or congressional boundaries. Some polling organizations will move to sampling from voter lists, which will miss recently registered voters and campaigns’ efforts to mobilize them.
We are less sure how to conduct good survey research now than we were four years ago, and much less than eight years ago. And don’t look for too much help in what the polling aggregation sites may be offering. They, too, have been falling further off the track of late. It’s not their fault. They are only as good as the raw material they have to work with.In short, polls and pollsters are going to be less reliable. We may not even know when we’re off base. What this means for 2016 is anybody’s guess.
Combine all of the above with blatant mainstream media bias and you end up with zero confidence in polling.
Full article: New York Times 2015 Op-Ed Issued a Dire Warning About Polling Accuracy (Liberty Blitzkrieg)