Does polling have a future?

Tuesday's election was a shock to many, but possibly because of faulty measuring.

The big reason so many people were shocked by Donald Trump's win, polling.  Many of them leading up to election night showed Clinton with a lead and an easy path to victory.   One voter told us, "Oh my gosh yeah. I thought Trump was going to lose by a landslide."
 
Those predictions have led some voters not to trust polls.  "When it comes to national sized polls, I don't, because of the pools that they use. I don't think they're reflective of the actual population and their opinions."
 
But, Al Tompkins with the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, says the polls really weren't wrong. Most of them were showing a statistical dead heat since the conventions and that's exactly what happened.  "Polls are widely misreported and misunderstood because you are led to believe that polls are accurate to within like a percent or something and they are just not."
 

 
Most polls have over a 3 percent margin of error meaning either candidate could be 3 percent above or below what the poll found, making it a lot closer in some cases.  
 
And Tompkins says you have to consider something called the 'Social Desirability Index.'  "What may have happened and probably did... is that a fair number of Trump supporters were not willing to tell pollsters that they supported Trump and we've seen this happen in some elections before."
 
This voter agreed, "People would be very quiet about it, until it was anonymous you wouldn't see a lot of trump supporters come out."
 
While the polling is being heavily criticized today, you have to remember that it's not an exact science and Tompkins says it's up to all of us to understand the polls before making a decision based on what it says. 
 
Tompkins says polling will still have a place in future elections, but people might be more skeptical about the results.


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment