Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Question the Polls

In 2008 my senior Senator from Kentucky was shocked that Obama was elected. He stated even before Obama took office that he would make sure that Obama would be a one term president. Our senior Senator is well known here in Kentucky for his political dirty tricks and he began his anti-Obama campaign with gusto leading the Republican party in opposing anything that the Democrats presented. He failed but has kept up the vitriol anyway.

Way back when I was an undergraduate I took a class in statists at Texas Christian University. What an eye opener for public polling. Looking for stats? What stats do you want? It is all in how you ask the questions and who you ask. Most national pollsters today like Pew Research do a good job of random polling to get a good sample of what people think. But even they sometimes get it really wrong. Governor Romney had so many polls that showed him winning that he only wrote a victory speech.

My senior Senator is continuing his argument over health care and the polls are all over the place and it all depends on who you ask what question. If you ask about the “Affordable Care Act” you get a positive set of results but if you ask the same people about “Obamacare” you get a negative set of answers. It is all in how you phrase the questions.

I am skeptical when a politician says, “The American people want …. [You can fill in the blank]! Of course they will state that the American people want what the speaker wants. Americans are a diverse people and we don’t all want the exact same thing and we all need to wake up to that fact.


  1. I've been thinking about a similar post myself. You're spot-on about the 'American People want...'....when a politician wins in a landslide, it means 45% of the voters didn't want him/her. Since usually 50-60% of registered voters actually vote, and only around 60% of the people eligible to register do, it means that less than 30% of the American People voted for the winner.
    How any politician can say they have a 'mandate' is beyond me.