Stop All Polling

The election Sunday in France will be a very interesting one. Right now the polls show Marine Le Pen gaining on her competitor, Emmanuel Macron. He is still favored to win, 61-33, though.

That seems to be about the same odds pollsters and pundits gave Hillary over Trump. We know how that came out.

I think it is time we all forget the polls. News channels ought to ban them. Newspapers shouldn’t run them and none of us should pay any attention whatsover to them.

There have already been studies (talked about before in this blog) that showed at least 30% of them were manipulated. You think? I would say it’s almost impossible for a pollster to come up with a poll completely free of bias. They all have a starting point and questions that suggest an answer they are looking for. None of them is done without some financial backing and that usually comes from a political source.

The mindset is all wrong, too. Asking a pollster in New York, DC or LA to come up with a good poll that will reflect flyover country’s mindset is like asking a cat to explain what dogs are all about. They’re a different breed.

Even if they were to produce an unbiased one, then the choice of people they poll has a bias. How do they know how many Democrats and Republicans are really reflected in their polls? What exactly is an independent? What about those who say they’ll vote, but don’t? What about those who decide a party in their state will already win, so why bother? California comes to mind. Republicans there have no motive to go vote. That may be behind some of why Hillary ended up with the popular vote win.

Even – and especially – with exit polls, you’d think you’d get a better idea of the winner. You’d think then they’d get a better sampling because these people actually did vote. But they have been way off or haphazard in their results. The time of day also has import. If Republicans are more likely to be employed, will they be voting at 2 p.m. or at the office? Then how many Republicans, loving their privacy, refuse to answer? You can’t factor that in.

Why is it the candidates’ pollsters are more accurate? Trump’s pollster, Kellyanne Conway, had determined that they would carry Michigan, Florida, Wisconsin and North Carolina. She was correct. But her views ran against what media polls said. Why did she succeed? They usually don’t share their methods with media pollsters.

It’s just a mess.

The reason news media like polls is because they help them write a story and promote a candidate or cause. Remember Brexit?

It’s kind of a blessing that our networks aren’t paying much attention to the polls and opinions in France. We’ll find out on their election day – Sunday – what is really going on. Maybe that’s what we should do here. Hold off on the speculation and wait for the results.

That would be like asking journalists to be fair and objective. Fat chance.

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