Polls Apart - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Polls Apart

As Yogi might have put it, the future of polling ain’t what it used to be. If the sample isn’t representative of the universe to be measured, the results are worthless. Michael Barone in this fine WSJ piece catalogues how the difficulties involved in getting a representative sample have escalated in recent years.

And the examples he gives of how badly pollsters have missed it in recent elections demonstrate his point. Worth keeping in mind during the primary races and beyond. If the venerable Gallup is throwing up its hands, what chance does the newbie Acme Polls have? We won’t know who’s on first until Election Night. Maybe not even then if it’s close. And that’s not all bad.

I include myself in that growing group of people who don’t talk to pollsters when they call (almost invariably just as I sit down to dinner). I decided to quit answering my phone at dinner time after several phone conversations roughly in this wise: Caller: “Mr. Thornberry, this is Joe Blow with Acme Opinion Polling, and…” Me: “I won’t waste your time Joe. My well-thought-out and firm opinion with no margin of error is that people who call people they don’t know at dinner-time should be hanged. Furthermore, Joe, you sound like a nice-enough fellow. You could probably find legitimate work if you tried.”

Larry Thornberry
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Larry Thornberry is a writer in Tampa.
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