Here’s Why Major Political Polls Don’t Mean Jack Squat
If you visit polling sites, such as Real Clear Politics, the numbers show a one-sided game for several states. However, if you actually were to check on the figures behind those polls, you’ll find that they are sorely lacking. One such poll, from Emerson, found Clinton ahead by 48 points. However, their sample size was incredibly small, at only 298 people. The numbers for those people similarly are misleading. In other words, without a sufficient sample size, these polls cannot give an accurate representation of where the presidential race is at this time. We look over all of the upcoming states and we see a similar pattern. Either polls are non-existent, or they are so anemic in data as to be nearly useless for prediction.
As a result, we find major agencies confused by the weeks of Bernie Sanders sweeps, despite predictions beforehand. Lacking solid polls, the major media outlets simply were at a loss to explain what was going on. Without polls, confusion sets in, and the media, already having established their news cycle months in advance, looks to be suppressing candidates when it simply has no explanation for a particular candidates popularity.
It then spread around the internet this morning when a pro-Trump website, prntly.com, posted a poll run by Amp Calypso which showed Sanders in a commanding lead within New York. Many people jumped on-board, before they even stopped to check on the source. Amp Calypso is a small company out of Albany, NY, which conducts online polls based on party criteria. In this case, it was a poll of Trump supporters, who preferred Sanders to Clinton. However, as presented, it gives the false impression that it was a general, scientific poll, instead of an online version of signature gathering. But, the lack of solid polling from more established agencies has left a yawning chasm, which this group has taken full advantage of.
Primary Season Took Media By Surprise
It appears, based on review of the polls taken over the past month, that few if any of the polling agencies thought the Democratic primary would last beyond March. We can see that state-level polls dropped off dramatically, and have not reappeared. What few there are, we can see, lack a sufficient sample size to be accurate. At this point, we simply cannot know who is leading whom in the upcoming primaries and caucuses. At this point, any claims by either camp that they are leading is pure wishful thinking.
Yet, people are clamoring for numbers. Just this past Saturday, when Hawaii was too slow in reporting its numbers, people turned to a Google Doc in order to find out what was happening. This is the information age, yet our agencies entrusted to deliver the information continue to demonstrate that they are mired in the past. And when information is lacking, people begin to fill in with their imaginations. With the era of social media upon us, the lack of transparency and the difficulty to gain insight and information over the electoral process could be turning engaged voters into enraged activists.
The marketing hype, the propaganda, the spin, all of this adds up to an attempt and control the message going out to the audience. The problem is that people are having a harder time accepting the spin doctors tales. As a result, there now are numerous stories just bubbling up through social media which the mainstream media simply is not picking up. Even worse, as the information does come out on the Democratic primary season, it becomes clear that the media’s focus upon Clinton as the front-runner is not reflective of the reality we find in the ballot box.
At this point, the delegate heavy states such as New York, Pennsylvania and California still have yet to cast their vote. The winner of the Democratic primary is looking more and more likely to be decided only after the last ballot is cast. This is a win not only for Democracy, but for the American people. This primary season may have drug out, but it also has empowered the base in a way not seen in over 100 years.