Op-Ed: Why those polls that say Clinton’s ahead could be wrong!

It's not over till it's over! Polls could be dead wrong!

There’s one word to describe the major national presidential election polls over the last two weeks: “wild.”
Just about all of those wild swings in the polls lately have been in favor of Hillary Clinton, as she’s now increased her lead from less than one percentage point in the RealClearPolitics poll average to 4.6 points as of Thursday morning.



But there’s another word you have to use when you see such massive swings in the polls in just a few days with less than a month to go before Election Day: “baloney.” And the reason why they’re baloney has nothing to do with conspiracy theories, partisan weighting, or even Russian hacking. It’s all about common sense.

The wild poll swings we saw after the first debate and after the Donald Trump“Access Hollywood” tape was leaked were not a straightforward case of Trump did a poor job or Trump looked bad so fewer people now say they’ll vote for him. What happens in polling is that, if your candidate does something that makes him or her look bad, or that you don’t agree with, you’re less likely to want to answer poll questions about him – even if it’s anonymous. It doesn’t mean you still don’t support him. Just that right this minute, you really don’t want to talk about it.

This phenomenon was explained in definitive detail by Columbia University statistics Professor Andrew Gellman and Microsoft economist David Rothschild. But do you really need a professor to tell you that when things look bad for your candidate, you don’t want to talk about the election at all? Frankly, it’s just common sense.

This is important because that kind of attitude affects the very math and research-based work that goes into polling. Pollsters actually identify voters who are the most representative of their district and target them in polls.
Every poll has a list of the top people it wants to survey, but when and if those top people don’t respond, the survey’s statistical reliability starts to decline. I learned this myself while working part time as a pollster when I got out of college. My bosses gave me a stack of 100 pieces of paper and instructed me that the first person’s name on each sheet was the best statistically representative voter to call in each Congressional district. And I was forbidden to go down to even the #2 person until I had called the top name on every one of the 100 pages first. If I even had a few #2 names in my survey, the bosses told me my poll data would not be as reliable for that day.

Based on the embarrassing nature of the “Access Hollywood” tapes, Trump voters have been presented with just the kind of event that makes people want to be more private about their voting choices. And that makes polling go haywire. Clinton thus jumped to a 14-point lead over Trump in the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll on Monday, only to see that lead significantly drop to nine points in the same poll just one day later. That’s a 36-percent swing in 24 hours.

The Rasmussen poll had Clinton ahead by seven points on Monday, but Trump took the lead in that poll by Thursday morning by two points, a swing of 128 percent! Yes, that’s crazy. But since the “Access Hollywood” story came out, there’s been more bad news on Clinton coming out via Wikileaks and many Trump supporters liked his performance in the second debate Sunday night. Put that together and it makes sense that you have more Trump voters willing to be identified, especially by pollsters. And so, the polls are swinging back a little towards Trump. In a week or so, look for the polls to get back very close to where they were before the first Clinton-Trump debate.

The most important thing to note in these poll swings is that the actual voters are really not changing their minds. I think, and history has shown this, that most voters (Ken Bone notwithstanding) had their minds made up by Oct. 1. The crazy numbers are simply representative of which candidate’s supporters are responding to the polls more.

This entire scenario is just the latest example of why it’s not wise to call this contest over before it’s over. You’d think that after the third, fourth, or fifth crazy thing to happen in this election, the “experts” would get that.

I guess not. Should we take another poll?

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Written by top40

If anyone is interested I am Top40 online. In the real world my name is David Russell Ellenberger. I am a SWM 57 and live in Louisville, Ky. I started about 4 years ago. I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted the website to be about but I liked the idea of people voting on items in ranked lists. The voting on these ranked lists will move the items up or down in the rankings you vote by clicking the + or - buttons below or next to the item in a list, refresh the page and the item will then appear in it's new ranking. IMHO voting really is one of the most important things you can do. Your vote is literally worth millions of dollars and that's one thing the politicians want you to do but don't want you to think about in that way. In other words vote for me I'm the best and I'm for this I'm for that I am for all the things that you want and that's why should vote for me. In reality what its about is control over you and money. So next time you vote you should demand to get paid. But I digress that's voting on items is just one of the reasons I started I also wanted to get my point out to the people and hopefully other people will want to use my website to get their point out or at least create their own lists. I had hoped for this to be another social media website. That hasn't really happened and I have been online for almost 5 years now. More about that later.


Everyone thinks just put your website up and they will come but that's not really the case. Part of the problem is search engines like Google have almost complete control of the web and all the traffic on it and they want you to pay. They also don't like other social media sites or search engine type sites they are what's known in the business as viral sites or sites that mostly contain links and not much original content which is exactly what Google is. But I maintain that links are part of the branding and the way you show your links to the world is an original aspect of any website and part of the branding and is orginal content in and of itself. But Google doesn't think so, Because that's what they are and they of course want complete control and they have it and no one seems to care. I didn't care until I started this website. But again I digress.


Back to the point. Why I started this website. Well another reason was to make money you can sell things or you can put advertising on your website. You can go out and sell advertising yourself or simply sign up for advertising services that have already sold the advertising and put the ads on your website for you. Services like this from Google and it's advertising service called adsense. If you read up on the internet how to make money with a website You will eventually find Adsense and various websites will tell you you can make tens of thousands with website adverting its so easy. And that may be true just from a numbers point of view but then reality sets in. More coming in a few days. Thanks for reading....

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