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Why You Shouldn’t Take the Polls Too Seriously

Now let’s say a pollster calls you, and you are a Trump supporter. But you are also, say, deeply religious, or a very nice person who doesn’t want to be thought of as not nice, or, perhaps, a woman who doesn’t want to feel like she is betraying her gender.

And someone you don’t know on the other end of the line, who for all you know is recording the conversation, wants to know if you will vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

And you are aware that Trump has said terrible things, and now is being accused of doing terrible things to women. How strong is the incentive to lie and say what you assume the pollster wants to hear? That is, to say you will vote for Hillary Clinton, when in fact, you will vote for Donald Trump.

It’s already difficult to be a Republican. You are thought of as uncaring, nasty, and possibly very stupid. These assumed attributes are doubled if you are a Republican and you support Donald Trump. It makes it even harder to admit you will back the Republican Trump if you are an independent or a Democrat who just can’t stomach Hillary Clinton and thinks the country needs to change.

We don’t know how great the “Trump bump” over the polls on Election Day will be. And it’s very dangerous to assume the polls are going to be wrong. In 2012, Republicans were told to ignore polls in places like Ohio, where people on the ground could “feel” a Mitt Romney win, and where he lost.

But I would guess this time the polls would have to have a few extra points built in for Hillary Clinton based on the Trump shame factor. Everyone wants to be liked, even by an anonymous pollster.

How many men are going to hesitate, at least, before telling a female pollster they will vote for Trump? Or before saying so to a pollster with an Hispanic accent? I mean, let’s be frank.

There is one caveat to this. Clinton will have a much better get-out-the-vote effort. But that may be canceled out by the relative enthusiasm of Trump’s supporters. Few are excited to go to the polls and vote for Hillary — not like they were for Obama.

“I think he probably will win this,” Newt Gingrich said during an interview this morning with Maria Bartiromo. Comparing the vote to Brexit, Gingrich said, “When they get down to it, people go, ‘No, I’m not going to vote for the establishment thug who’s corrupt.'”

That would Mrs. Clinton.

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26 Responses to Why You Shouldn’t Take the Polls Too Seriously

  1. Now if we could just spike the tires of the buses transporting the infirm, demented, unfortunates, illegals; rescue the FPO/APO absentee ballots from the corner of the DNC basement; calibrate the machines to record correctly and keep the new black panthers or their grandchildren the BLM away from the voting sites we might have a shot.

    But I do agree with you Keith on the polls. And I hope that reluctance to declare for Trump is large.

    Mitt Romney, ran a losing campaign, choked with Obama, and now throws a wrench in the gears in Utah with McMuffin. What a loser.

    • I wish the media would quit assuming that all women believe HRC is a role model for women.
      She is the kind of woman most women despise. At least those women who have an inkling of world events.
      And to the media at large: WAKE UP!
      We don’t think BHO exposing his pride and joy on an airplane is cute.
      We don’t think Lena Dunham is smart.
      And we sure as hell know that the real bimbos are the women who are hired by the DNC to sling accusations at DJT.
      And please, check your sources NYT.
      -Using the lyrics from a Velvet Undergound song is not a valid accusation. And….the use of a woman who has expressed her unhappiness with the trees on DJT’s golf course in CA is pretty stupid too.
      You are on the wrong side of this fence, media. Wake up.

  2. Are you kidding, Mr. Koffler? I cannot imagine telling a pollster anything whatsoever. Other than “Goodbye” (to be polite.)

    Our voting is done in an 3-sided booth for privacy. On the other hand, you can lie with ease to anyone who interrupts you in your own home to demand to know for whom you will be voting. The caller is invading your home to ask you something that is totally none of their business.

    Your description of mealy-mouthed responders and their reasons for any response at all is demeaning and insults our collective intelligence.

    And I’m a fan of yours. Carry on!

  3. As a statistician (the theoretical mathematics kind, not the sporting events kind), I’ve got increasing concerns with all of the polling. Just getting a representative sample of the population willing to answer questions is tough, but throw in the fear of mentioning Trump (or any other non-PC position) and it gets tough. Plus, many of the polls use prior voting to determine likely voters – and I think the populist nature of Trump’s campaign and the unlikability of both candidates to traditional voters (meaning they will stay home or leave the ballot blank) means that all bets are off on who will really vote or for whom they will vote. I have no idea what to conclude, and I suspect the statistics groups inside of polling companies share my concerns.

  4. We are puzzled out here in fly-over country;
    we know where and who the Trump supporters are, but where are the Clinton supporters?
    Where is this 50% of voters that claim they will vote for MrsC culled – from DC, from CA, Philadelpia, Selma?

    • The very soul of this great Country will be destroyed if she gets in office.

      Trump supporters know that.
      We need to keep our eye on the prize, the America that once was and can be again.

  5. My dear friends,
    Heres the only poll that will matter, Trump winning by a landslide.
    Don’t be discouraged.
    Trump down by 5 ? I don’t care, still voting.
    Trump down by 10 ? Still with Trump.
    Imho, in the final analysis, it’s the votes that count. Although there’s that tricky Electoral College.

  6. OT, but here is another stupidity coming from my country. The Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded to…..Bob Dylan. Nothing wrong with Dylan, he is a great artist, one of the greatest, but there are a lots of music prizes out there for him. Literature and reading is struggling without this to happen. It was time for an American prize and the US has a lot of literary giants, Don DeLillo, Philip Roth, Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Pynchon, Joyce Carol Oates, etc, aging authors who will now have to wait and wait. I am indignated. This is a controversial choice, many, many are upset. Well, some may be happy too.

  7. The recent smears leveled against Trump are typical of the tactics the liberals use to ruin their opponent.

    Remember when Obama was running for the senate seat in Illinois and he accused his opponent of beating his wife?
    Well, that turned out to be wrong, and her statement to the contrary didn’t come out until after Obama was elected.

    As far as the polls go, ignore them.
    IMO, they are just another form of propaganda.

    The true poll will happen on election day.
    My only hope is that the electorate is not corrupted to the point of dismissing the popular vote.

  8. I’ve been skeptical of the polls because they don’t align with the number of attendees at their events. Hillary’s rallies draw a few hundred while Trump fills stadiums with thousands. Are we to believe that thousands of people inconvenience themselves (long lines, traffic jams, time off work, etc.,) to attend a Trump rally but instead vote for Hillary. I don’t think so.

    • I live in Metro NY…. have voted to the right since 1980. Despite the overwhelming odds of a Republican actually carrying my state, I will again vote in the same manner.

      Then pray they have hand sanitizer outside the booth…ha ha

  9. Should somehow put the word out, when someone sees a bus load up and leave a polling place, follow it and make sure it doesn’t go and unload all its freaks at the next polling place to vote again.

    • I somewhat agree…but… the Trump Supporters will say YES…the America Supporters (those not yet in the bag for Clinton) are the ones we are talking about — and those might be a small false positive for Hillary.

      The key is — how many — how many sat home in 2012 that will not sit home in 2016 and vice versa….

      People are more pissed in 2016 than in 2012 and want change….is it enough? Don’t know.

      Nominee Barack Obama Mitt Romney

      Electoral vote 332 206

      Popular vote 65,915,796 60,933,500
      Percentage 51.1% 47.2%

  10. “How many men are going to hesitate, at least, before telling a female pollster they will vote for Trump? Or before saying so to a pollster with an Hispanic accent? I mean, let’s be frank.”

    I can understand being a bit hesitant about saying it to a female. But to a hispanic accent over the phone ? — That’s beyond cowardly. If such is the case, we really are in trouble.

  11. Very nice that these crooked Clintons and Obamas can steal it! Where are we people? That we let these liars and doubletalkers and crooks that steal our money, the Clintons and the Obamas and now we are going to let them steal our election? The filth and lies on CNN, MSNBC, Fox 24 hours a day just shows us what kind of people the Clintons and the Obamas are and the revolution is coming, it has to be done, maybe not immediately but we will throw the bums. It has to be done. As for the Republicans, with friends like those, who needs enemies. The Bushes, that sickie Romney, slob Kasich, Cruz isn’t as bad as them, but we’ll see about him. He is a little crazy but at least he endorsed Trump, the others are so off their rockers, they will be gone soon too, if they are not gone already, the losers.

    • If people sit out because of potty talk — shame on us — shame on us for making the nation about this… not about our 2nd amendment (which is the first to go before the other bothersome amendments) our courts in the hands of activists, our country invaded openly by people that will do us harm.

      Pulling the lever for Trump — knowing I will often be disappointed — like I was for the ‘no child left behind’ President — who could not get things done with BOTH houses of congress for 6 years — what we have now is the choice to throw in the towel or vote for the person most likely to save this nation.

      Sadly, I am too young to quit caring — and I know my kids and someday grandkids will have liked to have known the country I grew up in….it was a great place — many things are even better since then — but the fundamental change is taking place and it is not going to be as free as it was.

      Thankfully, Hillary never said anything vulgar…. /sarc

      We can survive 4 year of Trump. Our country will never be the same after 4 years of Hillary.