The Polls Before the Polls
Against all polling data, Hillary Clinton barely topped the New Hampshire Democratic primary. The Clinton supporters are cheering, and the Obama supporters are a bit surprised. As I’ve said numerous times, I’m not a big fan of polling, mostly because emotional responses or answer to questions the respondents know little about are quite useless bits of data. However, how you plan to vote the next day or within the next week is something that people would know about themselves. Last minute changes of heart considered, the numbers should be close.
ABC News’ polling unit, however, is calling this a polling fiasco.
There will be a serious, critical look at the final pre-election polls in the Democratic presidential primary in New Hampshire; that is essential. It is simply unprecedented for so many polls to have been so wrong. We need to know why.
But we need to know it through careful, empirically based analysis. There will be a lot of claims about what happened – about respondents who reputedly lied, about alleged difficulties polling in biracial contests. That may be so. It also may be a smokescreen – a convenient foil for pollsters who’d rather fault their respondents than own up to other possibilities – such as their own failings in sampling and likely voter modeling.
Fair enough. But there’s something I’m not hearing that, were this sort of polling fiasco to happen, say, next November, the cry would be deafening. Basil notes it at “Stop the ACLU”.
The polls were wrong. Very wrong.
And all the Democrats seem okay with that.
But I wonder …
Suppose it was November. And suppose the Democratic nominee was leading the Republican nominee in all the polls. And suppose the Republican ended up winning.
What would happen?
I think you’d hear all the Dems calling “fraud” and saying all those polls couldn’t have been wrong, so the election must have been stolen.
Today, though, the silence is deafening.
The evil Diebold machines of 2004’s Bush re-election suddenly became as innocent as doves come the 2006 Democratic sweep into Congress, and they could have been a factor in the NH primary. And yet, not a peep from the Democratic establishment. Now, for my part, I’m no fan of electronic voting machines; there just too many ways for things to go wrong and lose a boatload of votes. However, if the Democrats are OK with them today, and were OK with them in 2006, there is absolutely no excuse for any bellyaching if the Republican wins in November. It’ll be too little, way too late.
The pre-primary polls were way off, some say that Diebold could have influenced the outcome, and no outrage at all from the Democratic party. Quite a 180 from 2004, eh?
[tags]elections,Diebold,polling,Hillary Clinton,Barack Obama,Democrats,New Hampshire[/tags]
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