Listen now (20 mins) | Saturday coffee klatch with Heather Lofthouse
Anyone who has taken a basic Statistics course knows a poll is only as good as the methodology used to create it. GIGO--garbage in garbage out. Organizations (yes, that includes the media like CNN) can have an agenda and conduct a poll to confirm what they want it to confirm.
I saw some reporting this week that said CNN conducted a poll showing Biden and ‘the former guy’ neck and neck to boost their ratings.
Perhaps we need to have the polling organizations also publish their polling methodology since we can’t trust them to do it properly? 😔
Biden has done so much under the radar - quietly putting together his big deals with the expertise gleaned from his vast experience with people.
Trump does nothing loudly.
Several things, one the MSM seems to be in the Bash Biden most of the time and report every one of Trump's farts everyday all day and night.
Maybe more importantly Polls are broken, so many will not respond or even answer a cell call because of experience with push polls and so much spam and fraud via cell phones.
Biden is not surging ahead in the polls not because of any lack on his part or because Trump is so good at messaging, but because of a failure in our system of government that has relied on unwritten rules or codes that no longer function for the “Common Good” of the people. The situation of increasing wealth inequality, the inability of congress to function for the good of the people or even function at all except as a battle ground indicates the need to create a more advanced and equitable form of government from the ground up. Yes, this can be called “Utopian Thinking,” but we have been thinking and discussing in an increasingly smaller and smaller box. Now is the time to be willing to think outside that small box and the polls are only one more indication that the current box is not working.
Yes, Biden could be a better communicator, but I fear that Americans have become very shallow, accustomed to being entertained rather than led. How sad, how frightening that America’s concept of leadership is now vaudevillian instead of substantive.
Yes, Biden walks like the old man that he is, but America once voted for a great leader who could not walk at all. It was his mind they focused on.
So I chose polls are wrong based on my experience as a market research interviewer leading up to the 2020 election.
I called voters all over the country and this is what I found:
Gen Z didn't want to talk to us pollsters, they'd hang up either right from the intro or a couple of questions in. Their answers don't count because the survey hasn't been completed.
Millennials identifying as Democrat don't want to answer questions because they're mad at their situations in life. Mad at everyone. Click. No complete, not counted
Republican identifying Millennials: Life sucks, candidates suck, Biden is failing, let's go with the other guy. Those completed count.
Boomers like me:: "Why are you calling so late? It's almost 8 p.m.!" Click
Strong Democrats: never Trump. Completed interviews count but these respondents are few and far between
Most of my completed interviews were with die-hard Republican seniors who were lonely or bored. They were eager to talk, speechifying the wonders of tRump and the disaster that is Pres. Biden
If this pattern happened with all the other interviewers, that would be a good reason the poll is NOT representative of the population.
BTW, almost all of those who did answer questions were white males
The system is rigged in favor of Trump and his ilk. Democrats should be saying this, persistently. In response to Rep. Jim Jordan's effort to interfere in her prosecution of Trump, Fulton County, Georgia D.A. Fani Willis wrote him a strong letter saying that all defendants are treated equally, and he should stop his efforts to obtain favorable treatment for Trump. Reading that letter was a high point of my week.
We're more than a year away from a national election -- and eleven plus months away from national conventions -- and three and a half months away from the Iowa Caucuses (which, while interesting, do not have their finger on the pulse of the vast majority of Americans). The opinion of Iowans, while important to some, means virtually nothing to me. Polls have their place, but with our election timeline, they don't matter at this stage in our endless national election cycle, as far as I'm concerned. We spend so much time, energy and money gauging opinions that will ebb and flow between now and November 2024. Can we please just give our concerns a rest until early January 2024? I don't expect many will agree with me, but it feels good to give the "mania" a brief rest.
Thank you, friends Bob and Heather. You've improved the quality of the week to come. Particularly appreciated the "friends discussion". Coincidentally, yesterday I spoke to two friends (almost an hour each)...one a new friend who I rarely see in person, the other a best friend from childhood who lives in Eugene (OR) who called to check up on one of my friends from kindergarten in 1940. Made my day...really uplifting as I'll hit 88 next month. After having been an activist since college,I really appreciate your support of Biden...he's perfectly capable of handling things because of his years in Congress, etc. Trump is incapable of saying or doing anything supportive of democracy. I grew up "rich" but now I live paycheck to paycheck. In this country it's possible thanks to SS, but the majority of the poor struggle because of people who make too much money on their backs. Equality is our biggest problem right now. My father was one of the first Hollywood film industry union members in the '30s, so I've long been aware of the need for unions.
In addition, Dems NEED to quit harping on Biden's age and mental acquity. There are PLENtY of people who are his age, and older, who are sharp as tacks. PLUS, as a life long stutterer, he, like other stuttereers, needs to pause and choose his words. I have seen nothing to indicate he is less than razor sharp in his thinking, or in his responses. Saying "He's too old...He's not sharp anymore...etc..." is NOT HELPING. DO we ReALLY want to elect ANY of the possible GOP candidate wanna-bes? I think NOT!
So, let's say a partisan wants a red wall. Well, the partisan will open red paint and paint the wall red. This is exactly what happens when pollsters want to say Trump is ahead - they make a poll that shows Trump is ahead. The can of paint they open, meaning the people they ask to weigh in, are chosen to be the ones who will answer that Trump is ahead. Also, the way the questions are asked can lead to the way the answers are answered and interpreted. The only poll that counts is the one on election day!
Thank you, Bob and Heather for another stimulating discussion. In response to your title; What do polls mean anyway? Not a damned thing. If we were 330,000,000 bacterial colonies I would believe polls, but we aren't. Some of us have the ability to think and reason. As Jean L and Daniel Solomon state, Polls aren't used to determine influences, they are used to influence.
I absolutely agree that Biden is the most progressive President we have had in a very long time. And his approved legislation has all been for the betterment of ordinary Americans not for the rich and famous. I did and do admire Barack Obama and his lovely family, but as a President I was disappointed. He seemed more interested in gaining the respect of Legislators, many of whom are racist nitwits, than of passing meaningful legislation for all Americans - with the exception of the Affordable Care Act - which did help millions and could have helped more if not for the racial prejudices of the real Deep State - the sparsely populated States. Being way older than you and Heather, or Biden for that matter, my gold standard for Presidents is Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Joe Biden comes closer to that standard than anyone.
Musk is a contagious, poisonous worm. Like Trump I see nothing good in him. If, as I hope, we not only re-elect Biden but gain control of both Legislative Houses, and they can give up begging for donations long enough to do some legislating, perhaps we can file the fangs of the oligarchy by reinstating the anti-trust, anti-monopoly regulations of the early 20th century,
We don’t “give Biden any credit for the good economy” is simple...if you’re a regular person like me, it’s NOT a good economy. I think you are as out of touch with us as the Administration is. Sadly
It was definitely refreshing to hear the reality regarding the Clinton/Obama administrations' propping up of Wall Street. While you say Biden is more progressive in this respect, the bar is set pretty low. Let's see how the admin response to the upcoming UAW strike plays out. But thank you for the analysis.
People often do not poll the way they vote.
A poll is. not a vote.