This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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Are People Who Still Believe Polls the Problem in America?
In the 1930s, Hitler wanted to invade Poland. The Polish people were known as one of the best military powers in Europe and rivaled Germany in their efficiency, innovation, and industrial status. A Polish army of less than 1 million held back an army of over 5 million Soviets. They did this not through strength of arms but strategy and innovation.
They only show if the race is close or not, and even that is with a significant margin of error.
In order to justify the Blitzkrieg into Poland, the German propaganda machine created the concept of the “Polack,” a racist pejorative against the noble people of Poland. It was used to insinuate Polish people were mostly “stupid” and that the geniuses behind the defeat of the Soviets were ethnic Germans separated from the “Fatherland” by an unjust treaty. This mischaracterization enabled Hitler to convince Germans to march against the Polish homeland.
After the war, the Russians maintained the anti-polish sentiment to retain control over the Soviet Territories in Poland. We even see some of this lingering racism in the “Polack” jokes that circulate in bars today (rivaling blonde jokes in their belittling of an entire group). Well, if Blondes can change all of the anti-blonde jokes to AOC jokes, then it is time we ditch the racism and replace all “Polack” jokes with jokes about people who still believe the polls.
The Polish people are a proud, intelligent, innovative people, while people who still cling to their bias polls are slow-witted, regressionist and want to return to a day when the elites picked leaders rather than the people choosing representatives. In 2018, three statisticians presented an article to the Journal of the American Statistical Association looking at “Disentangling Bias and Variance in Election Results.”
Widely Underreported Margins of Error
Shirani-Mehr, Goel, and Gelman, who hail from Stanford, Microsoft, and Columbia, noted that in the 4221 polls they analyzed, the “pollsters” only accounted for sampling errors, rather than accounting for all variance errors in the survey. Researchers noted that even if the published margins of error were credible, they are widely underreported by rates of up to three times the amount of error.
They said that due to the methodology (simple random sampling within a non-homogeneous population), there were several levels of sampling error and non-sampling error that were underreported or not reported. Some reviewers of this study have insinuated that since many pollsters use simple random sampling within a homogeneous population methodology, the actual poll within a heterogeneous population would be statistically irrelevant! This practice could lead to error rates of up to 75%, which would mean that the “guesses” are more likely to be wrong than right.
Echo Chambers: The Problem of Political Bias
The problem of political bias goes deeper than this, however. Another study by Madson and Hillygus just this year stated that people tend to judge the validity of a poll on the results of the survey, namely whether the poll reinforces their current beliefs. Researchers noted that experts track the validity of surveys (which polls are) based “on methods used, vendor track records, and data-transparency.” The mainstream media and the American public tend to bias polls based on their history of reporting.
This process leads to people giving validity to surveys that they agree with and discounting studies the results of which they do not support. This phenomenon leads to a battling set of facts that each side uses to help their position, ignoring the fact that neither party is using facts. They are merely using un-correlated data presented in a way that supports their viewpoint. We see this not only in the decline of American political discourse but also in the fall in academic quality.
Gatekeepers of Information Damage Our Republic
So what effect does this have on our Republic? It is incredibly damaging to our nation when the “gatekeepers of information” (Read polling companies and Pollsters) present the raw data as “facts” without following the scientific method. This system is even more damaging when corrupt political organizations, like the DNC, can “choose” which polls they “like” to eliminate people’s ability to run for office in the United States.
Take, for instance, Representative Tulsi Gabbard. Gabbard has reached the threshold for donations and the percentage threshold in a statistically credible poll, yet the DNC denies her access to the third Democrat primary debate because they cannot accept the survey as the pollsters are not their preferred pollsters. Rep. Gabbard’s office did not respond to our request for comment.
Echo Chambers Create Voter Suppression
Further, there could even be a constitutional issue of releasing election results and exit polls on election day as it may suppress minority voter turnout in Hawaii, Alaska, California, Washington, Oregon, and to a limited extent Idaho, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. This is due to the fact companies broadcast results before many working (read conservative) voters get off work, discouraging many West Coast people from voting.
With the mounting evidence against polls, including DebateWise.org’s assessments that “The only accurate poll is an exit poll,” and “Voting is not a predetermined decision,” it is hard to justify why they are still relevant in American politics. They only show if the race is close or not, and even that is with a significant margin of error.
So perhaps it is time to change the racist “Polack” jokes to “pollster” jokes. In one fell swoop we can help dissolve the “racist” attacks on the proud Polish people (it is in quotes because it is really an ethnic attack, not a racial attack), and create a whole new family of jokes that the polls say will only offend pollsters and people who “live and die” by the polls. So, how many pollsters does it take to change a lightbulb? Answer: You can have all of them in a room, and they will never do it because they do not want to see the writing on the wall.