With every political season, campaign managers, commentators, and everyday people comb through polls to get an idea about just who will win the election. While polls aren't necessarily a bad thing, they aren't always the most accurate source of information. The reality is that there have been numerous elections where the candidate seemingly leading in the polls found themselves giving a concession speech on the night of the election. Here are just some of the reasons it's always best to analyze political polls with caution.
People Are Temperamental
The main reason these polls can be a poor determinate of victory is that people are very temperamental. To put this into better perspective, consider your own behavior at a new restaurant, for example. If you're like most people, you spend several minutes going back and forth about what you want to order.
You then place your order for chicken, but after you see the seafood platter delivered to a nearby table, you decide that you are no longer in the mood for chicken and decide to change your order. When people provide information to pollsters, the same thing happens. Whether it's an article or news story they view shortly after their participation, people can completely change their mind and void their previous response.
There Is Poor Diversification
Another issue is poor diversification. America is what it is because its citizens are so diverse. While people might fit into a superficial category, such as race or gender, people are also different when it comes to religion, education, occupation, sexual orientation, marital status, and so on.
Unless the polling agency is taking the time to get equal representation by at least most of these classifications, they could be leaving out an entire group of people. When this unrepresented group heads out on election day and casts their votes, the result will likely be a surprise. The reality is that because the average person fits into so many categories, it would be almost impossible to ensure every type of person is represented.
It's important to note that you should not necessarily dismiss every poll you see; however, it's not really a good idea to plan your future based on the current polls. In this wonderful democracy, people have the right to change their vote a million times before they walk into their voting booth on election day. Due to this, no poll can truly predict what will really happen. For more information, contact local professionals like Katharine Hamilton.