How Pollsters Affect Poll Results

by thoughtfulconservative

Professor Charles Franklin of Political Arithmetik has an excellent post on “house effects,” or how different pollsters differ in their results. Any one interested in polls and polling should bookmark his site as well as Pollster.com where his posts are mirrored. The latter site has an electoral map up. Compare it to the one at RealClearPolitics.com

Who does the poll affects the results. Some. These are called “house effects” because they are systematic effects due to survey “house” or polling organization. It is perhaps easy to think of these effects as “bias” but that is misleading. The differences are due to a variety of factors that represent reasonable differences in practice from one organization to another.

He then gives the different variables that cause differences in results with a nifty graph (I’m a graph geek almost as much as a map geek).

Definitely worth a look.

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2 Comments to “How Pollsters Affect Poll Results”

  1. It’s the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle at work… you can’t measure something without affecting that which you measure.

    In quantum physics this means that the more you accurately you determine a particle’s position, the less accurately you know its velcoity, and vice versa.

  2. Oooo. The Wikipedia article on the principle has alot of inscrutable equations.

    I’m a math geek also.

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