Monday, November 16, 2015

Polls Mean Nothing

I don't believe polls.  I don't trust polls.  Know why?  I've never been included in them.

Let's examine the way polls are typically conducted.  First, internet polling is completely unreliable as the collection of data is based on an IP address, not a person.  This means that if you have several different devices (phone, laptop, desktop, tablet), you could vote at least 4 times in the same poll, thus skewing the results.  This is not taking into account that you can do the same thing using your work devices as well.  There have been times I've cast my vote for something on a website using not only different devices, but also the three email addresses I currently use for different things.  So internet polling is unreliable, at best.

Also, no one has ever called me on the phone and asked my opinion on a presidential (or any) candidate.  Pollsters can only call phone numbers to which they have access, i.e. the telephone book.  I'm not in the phone book because I don't have a land line.  And neither do most of my friends or most other people (presumably) under the age of 35, or perhaps 40.  So the responses reflected through phone polls, we could surmise, is data collected from those folks who have landlines, i.e. the older generations and those who must have land lines due to their geographic locations.

Likewise, very few people have tried to stop me in person to ask my opinion.  And when they did, I never gave it.  I've either politely declined and went on my way (I'm bitchy like that) or just brushed by them hurriedly without any acknowledgement.  While in-person polling can be more accurate, it's also labor intensive and expensive to conduct.  There's also no guarantee that the pollster isn't just writing down data from people who don't even exist.

So since I've never participated in a poll, I can honestly say that my opinion has never been represented.  And I hazard a guess that most of my peers are not represented either.  So the information that is being thrown at us by the media and candidates during debates and stump speeches about polls and poll numbers doesn't really mean anything because we don't know who participated, how many people participated, and whether or not those people even exist.

What we CAN deduce, based on what I've written here, is that the poll numbers probably represent the opinions of older Americans who 1) are not current on their technology, and 2) most likely get their news from their local newspaper and/or their favorite news TV channel.  I could also make the assumption that most of the people being polled most likely have not done research on their own about presidential (or any office seeker) candidates and rely strictly on what they are told rather than information they've sought on their own.

It's been well-documented that metropolitan cities skew towards Democrat, while rural areas skew towards Republican.  So if a pollster is looking for a specific response, it would be very simple to just travel to the geographic location that will garner you the preferred response, as I am sure Fox News does.

So I don't follow poll information.  All I can do is my own research (which I encourage everyone to do) to make my own decision, pull the lever I want and hope for the best.