Why have polls been so wrong

by thoughtfulconservative

John Diaz, of the San Francisco Chronicle, had an piece in Sunday’s Crossroads asking why the polls have been so long.

As one who is skeptical of the value of polling, this, of course, held great interest for me. Some of his reasons mirror my own.

  1. Incorrect “weighting” of certain demographic groups. He notes one of John Zogby’s polls that was so off base in California was light on Latinos and heavy on younger voters.
  2. Absentee ballots. As much as 50% of California’s votes were cast absentee.
  3. Unprecedented turnout. “This year’s surge in participation, especially on the Democratic side, has made it extremely difficult to anticipate the allegiances and demographic makeup of those who cast votes.”
  4. The number of people who won’t talk to pollsters is going up.
  5. The influence of the 24/7 news cycle. He notes as an example the when Clinton had her tearful moment, “most pollsters had completed their work in the state.”

John Zogby said, “There is artwork involved here.”

More reason than ever to take polls with a grain of salt.


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