- Feb 11, 2013
- Reaction score
Actually, I did watch it (well, most of it). I felt there were various issues in their methodology and obviously had an agenda.
In terms of split tickets, I consider myself "middle of the road". I will vote for a moderate politician (of either party) over an extremist from the other party (again, of either party).
But I agree, my goal was to understand why in 2020 and 2022 there were so many surprises and I do not want to go down the political path related to 2000 mules or other voter fraud discussions.....
I think Thirsty's comments about many low quality polls used to create a narrative for the various talking heads is germane.
Related to that, if there is a close race, and polls show the spotted candidate is slightly ahead, does that cause the striped base to work harder to catch up? Or if the polls are strong for the spotted candidate, might more of those supporters actually skip voting because of a "sure thing" (think Dewey vs Truman)?
Do poll results (or at least the narratives) create a feedback loop that then influences voters and impacts the poll results?
I think there can be a feedback loop where past polling results can affect future polling results and election results to a small degree, but maybe not make a significant difference. I think it probably only comes into play when the margins are already pretty big.
I think it can affect polling by changing the likelihood that certain political demographics will respond to a poll. If polls show your candidate is doing well and you feel really good about their prospects in the election, you might be more inclined to answer a poll than you would if polling showed your candidate down. So polling that causes an enthusiasm gap might affect later polling results by widening the margin a bit.
And an enthusiasm gap can also possibly affect actual election results. If you don’t think your candidate can possibly win, you might not bother voting at all. But I think that would likely just come into play when the margin is already pretty big.
There’s a theory that polling and the election narrative leading up to the 2016 election might have affected the actual outcome, which would be kind of an exception to the rule. The idea is that the 2016 election was an odd one because it was so much of a lesser-of-two-evils election. Some elections are like that, but 2016 was extreme. Many voters were not voting for a candidate as much as voting against the other one. There was a core of Clinton supporters excited to be voting for a female president, and there was a core of Trump supporters excited to be voting for an anti-establishment outsider. But many rank and file Democrats and Republicans were not enthusiastic about their own party’s nominee, and were more motivated by strong dislike for the other party’s nominee. As the election got closer, polling was pretty tight, but it showed Clinton ahead by a few points. Analysts ran the polling data through their Monte Carlo sims, and came up with something like a 70% likelihood that Clinton would win (meaning a 30% chance Trump would win). And then the narrative developed that Clinton pretty much had it in the bag, ignoring the fact that 30% of simulations had Trump winning. The theory is that some Democrats felt like they didn’t need to turn out and vote for Clinton, which they weren’t very enthusiastic about doing, because the narrative they were hearing was that Trump was going to lose, which was all they really cared about. Wrong! Some people believe that if people had a better understanding of what the polls really meant, and how close the race really was, they may have been more motivated to turn out, and the results might have been different. It’s an interesting idea, I’m not sure I believe it, and we will never really know.