Friday, May 17, 2019

The Purpose of Opinion Polls is to Influence Public Opinion, Not to Measure It.

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I created the above graphic four years ago as the presidential election cycle was just ramping up. As we approach election year 2020, it is even more critical to make American citizens aware of this. Public opinion polls, especially this far out from an election, are not about gauging your opinion about a particular candidate. Honestly, the pollsters don't much care what you think.

The true purpose of most opinion polls is to influence public opinion, not to measure it. 

This is especially true the farther from the election you are. Why? Because the election is the only real test of how accurate the pollsters are. A poll taken six months, a year, or eighteen months before an election will not be tested for a long time. By the time of the election, such erroneous or fraudulent polls will be long forgotten.

Pollsters seek to create an illusion of viability in some candidates or issues because they know that many low-information voters will simply glom onto whoever the perceived front-runner is as the election approaches. Rather than allowing this sleight-of-hand to influence your opinion, don’t let the polls determine which candidates are viable for you. Rather, do the research and find out which candidates are on record as having views that mirror your own, and vote for that person, particularly in the primaries.

In short, don't be a low-information voter. Ignore the polls completely, not just because they are inaccurate but because they are purposefully manipulative.

If everyone did that, we wouldn’t be stuck with media-approved “lesser of two evils” candidates in every single election.

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