What do Polls Reveal About Society—Very Little

Ironically, in a media world that spews out polls like they are going out of style—those very polls and surveys aren’t worth much.

In truth, the junk science touted by the media as so revealing of the electorate’s mindset are less than worthless—but the media keeps insisting on their value.

The liberal media was so convinced of the value of polls—they were sure Hillary Clinton would win the 2016 presidential election in a landslide—oh well, there’s always 2020.

Sadly, the same myopic mindset of 2016 repeated itself in 2020.

It is worth noting: Polls and surveys are not the same, each of these instruments has its own specific attributes and constraints.

Surveys generally are associated with the realm of marketing for real world products. The goal of surveys and focus groups is to discover the true feelings/sentiments potential buyers have toward a product concept/prototype—such that a successful product can be brought to market. (Read: Why Polls/Surveys Work For Business But Not For The Media)

Polls, on the other hand, have emerged as means to measure the public’s sentiment regarding political matters.

Perhaps more troubling, polls are not tied to success, therefore, there is no real-world incentive to get polls right.

It would be remiss to say polls/surveys are valueless.

Each has value, however, rarely are polls/surveys or their respective results applied correctly—especially in regard to politics, which leads to each earning the status of junk.

Of the two instruments, polling may be the most deceptive, in part, because there are elements of hard science associated with the premise of polls: such as sampling, over-sampling, margin of error, and statistical corrections.

These elements of statistics give polling the aura of hard science, however, the hard science of statistics is being incorrectly applied.

In fact, while polls use the hard science tools of statistics, by definition the attributes of statistics cannot be applied to what is being measured by pollsthe opinions of individuals

(Note: Individual opinion is a singular event and cannot be replicated, therefore the principles of statistics cannot be applied.)

The crux of the polling dilemma: statistics cannot be applied to individual events, yet pollsters claim they can be.

(Note: Those who make a living conducting polls would never openly admit their business is built on a lie.)

Beyond the fact statistics cannot be applied to individual events—all polls/surveys are inherently biased.

In fact, no one to date has figured out a way to produce an unbiased survey.

Not only are polls/surveys inherently biased—how a marketer assesses each question is arbitrary.

There are no industry standards to determine how a response should be handled. It is purely up to the marketer on how they interpret the data.

How can a field built on subjectivity be considered scientific?

It can’t.

This is at the core problem with polls and surveys being utilized to generate hard facts.

They simply can’t.

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