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We’ve Got To Stop Relying on Political Polls

I’m sure you’ve seen recent polls that predict Trump’s demise. According to CNN, Trump is only ahead in one battleground state at the moment. Joe Biden is leading by 16 points nationwide. While this might be exciting news — or devastating, depending on who you ask — hold your horses for a minute.

We all remember the election of 2016 like it was yesterday. It looked like there was no way we were going to be seeing a Trump presidency. On election day, Hillary Clinton was ahead in almost every major poll. Big oops.

Not only are polls sometimes incorrect in their predictions, but they’re plain unreliable sources of data. Pollsters have often relied on landlines for polling questions. But there are a couple of key issues here. First, who really has a landline anymore? And second, who actually answers? The answers to these questions: almost no one, and, well, almost no one. These voluntary samples can be a bit biased by age group, but also by class.

Those who are able to stand by their house phones all day might yield different answers than a 20-year-old who only has a cell phone. Further, pollsters can’t just call us on our cell phones to see how we’re feeling about the election due to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. 

While we do love our polls here at polljuice, it’s important to look at those meant to collect data with a critical eye. You might just be deceived. That’s why it’s even more important to get out and vote; your chosen candidate might not be doing as well (or as poorly) as polls predict.

Thumbnail: 2016 General Election Polls via Wikipedia Commons.

  • Should we rely on political polls to determine election results?

    • Yes
    • No

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Written by Marina Martinez

Arizonan student at the University of Edinburgh, dog lover, desert rat, meme aficionado and coffee enthusiast.

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