11/7/16 at 02:00 PM 0 Comments

Poll Numbers Can be Misleading: Get Out and Vote

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If you were to take a look at the polling averages for the presidential race – both in specific battleground states and nationwide – it would be easy to assume that Hillary Clinton is gliding towards the finish line with a comfortable lead. Even after recent revelations from the FBI’s independent probes into Clinton’s private server and a possible “pay-to-play” Clinton Foundation scheme, most polls show her winning.

But that’s only if you take the polls at face value. If you really dig in and look at the details of these polls, you’ll realize that there’s actually a much closer race unfolding. See, despite the fact that the media likes to continually reference polling numbers as the end-all-be-all of the election cycle, the polls are actually very misleading.

 The Problem With Polls

Polls are notoriously fickle. They often ask misleading questions, sample imbalanced groups, and reveal data in ways that aren’t always reflective of the truth. Nobody’s saying that polling entities are maliciously fudging the numbers (though it is possible), but there are often agendas and biases that come into play.

While numbers don’t always have to be fabricated or misleading, it is clear that even societies most trusted numerical gatekeepers are not immune to the carelessness and bias that can arise with statistical interpretation processes,” explains this blog post from datapine.

While you could write a book on historical flaws with polling, all you have to do is study this one election cycle to see how susceptible the polls are to manipulation.

Want a specific example? All you have to do is look at the CNN post-debate poll from September. The data seemed to show a clear and convincing win for Clinton, but that’s only if you take the poll at face value. When you study the numbers, it reveals that of the respondents, 41 percent identified as democrats, 33 percent identified as independents, and just 26 percent identified as republicans. Clearly, the data was structured in such a way to favor one candidate over the other.

But it works the other way, too. In September, CNN and other cable news networks reported that the race was suddenly tightening between Trump and Clinton. Whereas she once had a double-digit lead, Trump was quickly leveling with her. But again, if you took the time to review the methodology behind CNN’s polling, you would have noticed blatant changes. It suddenly pivoted from polling more registered democrats to polling more registered republicans. Furthermore, they declined to respond to the changes.

In other words, it’s easy for media outlets to control polling numbers without alarming the general public. This lets them control certain narratives, drive TV ratings, and even push political agendas (all of which should scare the living daylights out of well-intending voters).

3 Reasons the Race is Closer Than the Pundits Think

Now that you know just how easy it is for polling data to be purposefully or inadvertently manipulated, let’s take a look at some of the specific reasons why this election will likely be much closer than the pundits think.

 Have you ever heard of “social desirability bias?” It’s the desire of respondents to say one thing in order to avoid embarrassment when speaking with an interviewer. Because Trump has been labeled – correctly or incorrectly – by the media as a racist bigot – many people don’t want to admit that they support him. But when they enter the privacy of the polling booth, they’ll probably still vote for him.

The polls look at the responses of registered voters, but the truth of the matter is that there’s a difference between registered voters and likely voters. It’s easy to say you’re going to vote for someone when a pollster calls you on the phone, but taking time off from work, fighting traffic, and waiting in line to cast a vote is totally different.

Ultimately, national polls really don’t matter. Remember, it’s possible to win the popular vote without capturing the electoral vote. The election ultimately comes down to about 10 battleground states.

 In all likelihood, this election is a statistical dead-heat. This could obviously change in the coming hours or days, but be aware of what’s really happening.

Get Out and Vote

Here’s the point: You should never make a voting decision based on a technicality or guess as to who others are voting for. Always vote your conscience. Do you feel like you’re wasting your vote on Gary Johnson because he only has a few percentage points of the popular vote? Maybe he’s actually in double digits. Don’t feel like showing up at the polls because you feel like Clinton is a forgone conclusion? Show up anyway. Think your vote will just be canceled out by your spouse? It’s still a vote.

Your vote counts and you shouldn’t let potentially biased data keep you away.

CP Blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of The Christian Post. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).