View Poll Results: Do you expect the political polls to be scientifically accurate or not ?

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19. You may not vote on this poll
  • I safely expect political polls to honest and accurate

    5 26.32%
  • Polls are just another tool to manipulate the public

    6 31.58%
  • Same polls are honest, some are dishonest

    8 42.11%
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Thread: Do you expect the political polls to be scientifically accurate or not

  1. #1
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    Do you expect the political polls to be scientifically accurate or not

    I just visited a popular conservative political blog who's headline was "Even NPR?" in a story about recent polling data. The unspoken message, polls are not scientific especially if the pollster is perceived as being for a particular political camp. Polls are yet another propaganda tool to be used to promote a political agenda. Or WE see polls as dishonest political manipulation fodder for our side and so we by default project that same MO as an assumption of all polls and as long as the final poll before election day is spot on, they can still dishonestly claim impartiality because "after all, they're were right."

    Another one is a popular polls averages site. You'd think it would be a place where you could look to to get honest snapshots of where the country is politically with respect to the presidential election safely. After all even if methodology is slightly different (because we all know nobody is deliberately cooking the numbers to make one side look like they're doing better than they truly are) including ALL polls for respected sources and averaging them out would offset any unintentionally inaccurate result. Wait, not so fast...the main poll averages site everybody checks omitted an NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll for over a week that just so happened to look favorable to Obama. Then after other polls came out showing stronger numbers for Romney that offset the NBC/WSJ lead for Obama did they finally include it in their averages.

    I would hope the polls were scientifically accurate but I'm starting question them.
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    Re: Do you expect the political polls to be scientifically accurate or not

    Generally they are honest and (reasonably) accurate. There are occasional pollsters who use dishonest methods (e.g. Research 2000) but for the most part they do their best. That's not to say that they are always correct. Built into any poll is their assumption about who constitutes a "likely voter" and which groups are underrepresented via phone interviews. Some pollsters do a better job of this than others...for example, the robopolls tend to be less accurate than those that employ human pollsters, because people are less likely to respond to them and those who choose to respond to them are a self-selecting sample.

    With that said, I would expect the final results on Election Night to be within a couple points of the poll averages. It's not unprecedented that the polls are off by more than that (e.g. Harry Reid considerably overperformed his polling average in the 2010 Nevada Senate race), but it tends to be the exception rather than the rule.
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    Re: Do you expect the political polls to be scientifically accurate or not

    As I said before polls like tests are a snap shot in time no matter how good the "science" may be. Whats important is to take the ones that use good methodology and track them over time as a group. This will show real trends. This is essentially what Nate Silver does and so i only look at his "polls".
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    Re: Do you expect the political polls to be scientifically accurate or not

    I am going to think positive here and say yes, I think they will be accurate.

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    Re: Do you expect the political polls to be scientifically accurate or not

    None of the answers listed.

    Scientific? Huh? Just like psycobabelism and current "enviro-science" they have some accuracy but are not founded in hard or "real" science. In science, you observe something, create a theory then test it, repeat until theory matches and support observations and you achieve consistent results, then submit to peer review to make sure you didn't accidentally rig the experiments used to test. No way to actually follow this method and come to a scientific conclusion, therefore, they cannot ever be scientifically accurate.

    Pole results are too easily skewed. Time of day, location of poll, the wording of the questions, limiting the actual responses to presets instead of what the person actually wants to say, (like the options given for answering this poll) and willingness of people to participate in a poll all affect the outcome. How many people are like me, for example, that don't answer the phone if the number is a toll-free or unknown number (isn't caller id wonderful)? If you poll during working hours, you don't get the workers only those staying at home for some reason (very good method if you want to show liberal results). If you get more urban people participating than rural, or the opposite, then results again skew. Since you actually want results, program your auto-dialer to remember which numbers actually answered and participated then only add in a percentage of truly random numbers for the pole. If you are a biased poller, then you also remember which ones gave the answers you liked and re-call them with only minimal actual randomization to make the numbers look real.

    Volunteer polls, like this one, are highly inaccurate because particpation is only those who actually feel like giving a response, if the read the poll at all.
    Last edited by DVSentinel; 10-31-12 at 11:48 AM.
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    Re: Do you expect the political polls to be scientifically accurate or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Smeagol View Post
    I just visited a popular conservative political blog who's headline was "Even NPR?" in a story about recent polling data. The unspoken message, polls are not scientific especially if the pollster is perceived as being for a particular political camp. Polls are yet another propaganda tool to be used to promote a political agenda. Or WE see polls as dishonest political manipulation fodder for our side and so we by default project that same MO as an assumption of all polls and as long as the final poll before election day is spot on, they can still dishonestly claim impartiality because "after all, they're were right."

    Another one is a popular polls averages site. You'd think it would be a place where you could look to to get honest snapshots of where the country is politically with respect to the presidential election safely. After all even if methodology is slightly different (because we all know nobody is deliberately cooking the numbers to make one side look like they're doing better than they truly are) including ALL polls for respected sources and averaging them out would offset any unintentionally inaccurate result. Wait, not so fast...the main poll averages site everybody checks omitted an NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll for over a week that just so happened to look favorable to Obama. Then after other polls came out showing stronger numbers for Romney that offset the NBC/WSJ lead for Obama did they finally include it in their averages.

    I would hope the polls were scientifically accurate but I'm starting question them.
    If the polls reflect the motivations and work ethic of "the usual call centers," I don't have much faith in them. I think of the people who make these phone calls as the same people who make phone calls to me to buy their products, donate to their causes, etc. I think of the number of times I say, "Thanks, but no thanks," and hang up. Then I wonder how many pollsters are just filling out the responses dishonestly.

    I'm sure some polls are accurate; but, as is true with everything on the internet, take them with a grain of salt.

    If anyone can find a more accurate poll than Gallup, I hope they'll post up their proof. If I understand their chart, they've been picking them right since 1936:

    Election Polls -- Accuracy Record in Presidential Elections

    ​Thanks for posting this thread. I'm confident in going with Gallup and ignoring the rest.

    Edit: For what it's worth, the latest (and, if I understand correctly, the last) Gallup Poll showed Romney up by five points. Gallup has suspended their tracking of the presidential race because of the storm. http://www.enstarz.com/articles/8682...over-obama.htm
    Last edited by MaggieD; 10-31-12 at 12:04 PM.
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    Re: Do you expect the political polls to be scientifically accurate or not

    They're BS. Don't trust them implicitly.

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    Re: Do you expect the political polls to be scientifically accurate or not

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieD View Post
    If the polls reflect the motivations and work ethic of "the usual call centers," I don't have much faith in them. I think of the people who make these phone calls as the same people who make phone calls to me to buy their products, donate to their causes, etc. I think of the number of times I say, "Thanks, but no thanks," and hang up. Then I wonder how many pollsters are just filling out the responses dishonestly.

    I'm sure some polls are accurate; but, as is true with everything on the internet, take them with a grain of salt.

    If anyone can find a more accurate poll than Gallup, I hope they'll post up their proof. If I understand their chart, they've been picking them right since 1936:

    Election Polls -- Accuracy Record in Presidential Elections

    ​Thanks for posting this thread. I'm confident in going with Gallup and ignoring the rest.

    Edit: For what it's worth, the latest (and, if I understand correctly, the last) Gallup Poll showed Romney up by five points. Gallup has suspended their tracking of the presidential race because of the storm. Presidential Polls 2012: Latest Gallup Shows Romney Leading 5 Percent Over Obama : Offbeat : Enstarz

    I don't think Gallup is biased but I am starting to think others are and intentionally so.

    The problem with dishonest agenda driven pollsters is they can publish cooked poll results then entire entire election season then a few weeks before election day gradually start bringing them back in line with the accurate data and make the final one accurate then they can claim "We're not biased, we always predict the winning candidate! but they lied their butts off by a few percentage points in order to excite to base, encourage donations, encourage volunteering, etc. falsely showing can win because its neck and neck up until the final poll, the one that is going to be verified by the election results. What I suspect is their dishonesty earlier in the race affecting increased donations, etc. would have been lower and their side would have not been close. I have personally seen one poll averages pollster include daily updates for one poll that consistently favors one candidate, real quick to include polls that favor the same candidate but slow as heck and sometime won't include at all polls that favor the other candidate. Then as long as their final report is honest they can claim bragging rights as being spot on each election and we're all gullible enough to fall for it.
    Last edited by Smeagol; 10-31-12 at 12:27 PM.
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    Re: Do you expect the political polls to be scientifically accurate or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Smeagol View Post
    I don't think Gallup is biased but I am starting to think others are and intentionally so.

    The problem with dishonest agenda driven pollsters is they can publish cooked poll results then entire entire election season then a few weeks before election day gradually start bringing them back in line with the accurate data and make the final one accurate then they can claim "We're not biased, we always predict the winning candidate! but they lied their butts off by a few percentage points in order to excite to base, encourage donations, encourage volunteering, etc. falsely showing can win because its neck and neck up until the final poll, the one that is going to be verified by the election results. What I suspect is their dishonesty earlier in the race affecting increased donations, etc. would have been lower and their side would have not been close. I have personally seen one poll averages pollster include daily updates for one poll that consistently favors one candidate, real quick to include polls that favor the same candidate but slow as heck and sometime won't include at all polls that favor the other candidate. Then as long as their final report is honest they can claim bragging rights as being spot on each election and we're all gullible enough to fall for it.
    Don't forget that polls are a feedback loop for propagandists.

    So they can see which persuasive messages are getting traction and which aren't.

    ALL campaigns are crafted and managed by PR pros.
    Anyone wondering what I'm talking about start here:
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    Re: Do you expect the political polls to be scientifically accurate or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Smeagol View Post
    I just visited a popular conservative political blog who's headline was "Even NPR?" in a story about recent polling data. The unspoken message, polls are not scientific especially if the pollster is perceived as being for a particular political camp.

    When I hear the two (2) terms, "Scientific" and "Political Polls" in the same sentence, I typically chuckle. I used to laugh myself asleep, but that was many years ago. Today, I just smile and continue sipping my Pete's.

    There is no such thing as a "scientific political poll" regardless of how the poll might be skewed, Left or Right.

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