October 30, 2008

Why Polls Matter

Posted in In the news, Political Punditry tagged at 1:29 pm by R

There’s been a lot of speculation in the past few weeks over what election polls are accurate, why they matter and what, if anything, they actually tell us.

It’s my personal belief that the only poll that really matters is the one calculating actual votes on election day. BUT, polls leading up to November 4th do matter, because they are a persuasive form of PR.

My father-in-law (the king of one-liners and other comments that will make you laugh hysterically) has a saying:

“I only root for the winner.”

People feel more motivated than ever to put their civic stake in the ground and say they contributed to the course of America. Citizens are voting in record numbers and in a more passionate way than they have in decades. But ultimately, people want to vote for the guy who wins, be part of the reason why the “right guy” got into office.

And if not, well, there’s always the “Don’t-blame-me-I-voted-for-the-other-one” bumper stickers.

Polls contribute to this process as influencers. When we see a candidate pulling ahead or leading in repeated polls, it leaves an impression. It’s a “Get-on-the-bandwagon” effect. Polls affirm people who are leaning toward the leader and cause people to question about the candidate coming from behind.

In an election where people on the fence about their vote are of critical importance, so are the polls that influence those still-undecided voters.

What do you think?



1 Comment »

  1. Momma said,

    VOTE! Yes indeed, vote. In 1972 after the voting age dropped to 18, four of the five children in my family voted for the first time. It was exciting. Still is!

    Though I am no longer a soldier, I have always considered that my oath of commissioning as an Army officer in 1972 requires me to vote in every election. Why? The oath states in part, “I will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”. Today as a citizen, I do that by entering the voting booth and fulfilling my obligation yet again.

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