It seems that you can hardly listen to news reporting about the election without getting news from the almighty polls.  While the debate rages on for whether polling is good or bad for our democracy one thing is clear, polls are here and playing a significant roll in shaping voters’ views of the election.  A September 21 New York Times article offers tips to help people read the polls more realistically and avoid going through the euphoric ups and the despondent downs. Understanding what goes on “behind the scenes” with these polls will contribute to becoming better informed and more balanced in your interpretation of them.  Polling is not rocket science; it’s still a struggling human endeavor.

” Polling results rely as much on the judgments of pollsters as on the science of survey methodology. Two good pollsters, both looking at the same underlying data, could come up with two very different results.  How so? Because pollsters make a series of decisions when designing their survey, from determining likely voters to adjusting their respondents to match the demographics of the electorate. These decisions are hard. They usually take place behind the scenes, and they can make a huge difference.”

Read the full article online at NYTimes.com



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