Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Trump campaign manager calls polling "the biggest joke in politics


  1. I think what he is saying about "distractions" is that because of instant commuications we live in a different world.

    Allow me to share some of my experiences.

    When people didn't carry around smartphones with them, it required planning and coordination to meet someone.

    Say two people wanted to meet. They communicated to each other a place and time to meet. Each then acted independently and found their way to the place at the time they agreed to.

    With smartphones in these two people's possession, they have another option. They don't have to plan anything. When one feels like meeting, he can call the other. Through a series of back and forth calls, they can eventually end up meeting somewhere and some time that was never actually planned on.

    This is emblematic of how many people now operate. They live without much forethought. They act in a way that is downright irresponsible. And their friends act the same way to them.

    It becomes socially acceptable to cancel, neglect, or just ignore obligations that people implicitly bind themselves to when they make a simple statement like, "I'll call you back in five minutes."

    For example, the person making that statement may not call back in five minutes. They don't feel they've done anything wrong because the person they made the promise to always has the option to call instead. And in any case, if they did call back in five minutes, it could be the person they were keeping their word to is no longer available. In other words, the person the promise was made to, by accepting the promise, didn't feel they have to keep their side of the bargain and actually be available in five minutes.

    Now let's translate this into political polling. The answer to a question like, "Who are you voting for?" used to mean something. The closer to the election, the more value the answer gained. If a person named a candidate as their choice, you could assume it was their choice.

    Nowadays, the answer's value is highly discounted. The answer can change, in the same way plans to meet, as outlined above, can remain fluid right up to the last moment.

    It used to be that few voters were undecided by the day of the election. It could be that a very high percentage of voters in this election cycle remain undecided,just because that's how they lead their lives in general: they don't make decisions, because the price to pay for failing to decide is rather low.

    In summary, political polling is less useful than it used to be.

  2. Polls are useless. I've seen a number of elections where the polls guaranteed a certain winner, only to be completely wrong.

  3. The lesson: The battle is not always to the mighty, nor the race to the swift, but that's the way to bet.


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