How accurate are polls, and should be know if they are being paid by a campaign.

United States
September 30, 2012 9:07pm CST
Recently while most polls have shown Obama up by 3 - 8% (above the margin of error), one poll shows them at a dead heat. The one that shows them at a dead heat is Rasmussen. Rasmussen has a tendency to lean more republican than democrat, and it one of the main choices of FOX News. The one thing about Rasmussen is that fact check has proven that Scott Rasmussen lied when he said he: “has never been a campaign pollster or consultant.” Records show that Rasmussen recieved money from both the RNC, and the Bush campaign. However, some polling organizations don't even hide their bias, being lead by known party member. The most confusing though would be polls run by Major Media organizations who could have their polls manipulated by campaign advertising which is worth hundreds of millions. How accurate do you feel pulls are, and do you think they are influenced by money? http://johnib.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/rasmussen-poll-for-friday-september-28-2012-obama-has-slight-lead/ http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2010/01/04/75767/politico-rasmussen/
3 people like this
12 responses
@laglen (19780)
• United States
1 Oct 12
I don't trust them at all, I actually think they are a waste and are being over-used. There are so many ways to manipulate results. I will save judgement for the voting booth.
1 person likes this
@Rollo1 (16685)
• Boston, Massachusetts
1 Oct 12
You may think Rasmussen "leans" but over and over they prove to be the most accurate pollster out there. http://www.fordham.edu/images/academics/graduate_schools/gsas/elections_and_campaign_/poll%20accuracy%20in%20the%202008%20presidential%20election.pdf 2008 election - The following list ranks the 23 organizations by the accuracy of their final, national preelection polls (as reported on pollster.com). 1. Rasmussen (11/1-3)** 1. Pew (10/29-11/1)** Look at the last four on the list: 17. Gallup (10/31-11/2) 18. Reuters/ C-SPAN/ Zogby (10/31-11/3) 19. CBS/Times (10/25-29) 20. Newsweek (10/22-23) Today Rasmussen has them within two points, but says this: "Currently, 43% of voters are “certain” they will vote for Romney. Forty-two percent (42%) are that certain they will vote for Obama. The remaining 15% are either uncommitted or open to changing their mind. " 15% is a lot of votes.
• United States
2 Oct 12
Rollo, I have never heard if anyone paid Rasmussen in 2008, I think it would be interesting to look at the polling from 2004 when we knew that Rasmussen was being paid by both the RNC, and the Bush campaign. "Currently, 43% of voters are “certain” they will vote for Romney. Forty-two percent (42%) are that certain they will vote for Obama. The remaining 15% are either uncommitted or open to changing their mind. " Why would a polling company bring this out? Everyone knows that 85% of the country is going to vote a certain way, and 15% of the country is going to decide the election. It has been this way for 20 years. I will say that when I watch Bill O the clown he didn't mention your disclaimer. My question is should we know if a political party has paid money to a polling company to influence their work? It is a FACT that Rasmussen was paid by the RNC, and Bush in 2004. What did both get for that money, and did it influence the election?
@Rollo1 (16685)
• Boston, Massachusetts
2 Oct 12
"What did both get for that money, and did it influence the election?" " Everyone knows that 85% of the country is going to vote a certain way, and 15% of the country is going to decide the election. It has been this way for 20 years." Your statements cancel each other out.
• United States
2 Oct 12
Rollo, How does a question cancel out a fact?
@debrakcarey (19924)
• United States
1 Oct 12
Does ANYONE actually look at the polls and say to themselves, gee this candidate appears to be winning so I'll vote for him/her? Polls are political tools. If you want to 'know' what the real situation is, you have to dig a bit deeper. http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2012/08/25/2012-Untold-Story-Obama-Is-Losing http://www.westernjournalism.com/the-left-wing-disinformation-campaign-to-deflate-your-enthusiasm-2/
• United States
2 Oct 12
So do, and if you listen to talk shows they will point out the polling numbers. There is very much a herd type mentality in this country, and many have given that as the reason we have Obama as president today.
@debrakcarey (19924)
• United States
3 Oct 12
Saw an old interview done in 2008. Three young black men. One voting for the very first time in his life. Interviewer asked them; will you vote for 'your' candidate Barack Obama? All three said NO. And you know what the white interviewer said to them? where's your sense of pride! No, the 'herd' mentality is definately NOT on the right.
• United States
3 Oct 12
Deb, so you are saying that all of the Santorum, Gingrich, and Paul supporters are NOT voting for Romney? Or are they just voting for the republican candidate? Or are they voting for the "anyone but Obama" candidate? Sounds like herd mentality to me!!!!
@Taskr36 (13923)
• United States
1 Oct 12
I think every poll should be taken with a grain of salt. There are often factors that are not taken into consideration and no poll is going to be perfect. Personally I prefer the Rasmussen polls as I find them to be most accurate more often than others. Rasmussen does have a tendency to lean more republican. The reason for that is that they poll likely voters, whereas polls like Gallup poll ALL voters. As I'm sure you know, Democrats have a lower turnout than Republicans in general. Young people are more likely to be democrats, and they are often too lazy or apathetic to vote whereas senior citizens are more often republicans and they have the highest voter turnout. Also, Rasmussen polls work on a 3 day schedule which makes them less volatile, and occasionally leaves them 3 days behind other polls if there is a significant change. I do think that there is definite manipulation in polling because polls decide things like who gets to be in debates. Keeping someone out of debates now is as easy as not including them in the polls. That's how they shut Gary Johnson out of the Republican debates when he was ahead of both Rick Santorum and John Huntsman. They just took his name off the polls and the debates were over for him. I try to look at the polls that are rated as most consistent and accurate. Still, it's best never to limit yourself to just one. Here's how they all did back in 2008. You'll notice Rasmussen was number 1. http://www.nowpublic.com/world/analysis-most-accurate-polls-2008-presidential-election http://www.rove.com/notes/80 http://www.fordham.edu/images/academics/graduate_schools/gsas/elections_and_campaign_/poll%20accuracy%20in%20the%202008%20presidential%20election.pdf http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/pew-rasmussen-most-accurate/2012/09/11/id/451377
• United States
2 Oct 12
Taskr, you point out an example of how a poll can manipulate an election. If Gary Johnson did well in the debates he COULD have gained traction, and taken votes away from the republican candidate. Just like a green party candidate could take votes away from a democrat. Does it bother you that Rasmussen has taken money from a party, and a campaign that COULD have influenced it's own polling? Does it bother you that they denied they took money until they were given proof, and then never sued anyone over it? I am not trying to bash Rasmussen, but you pointed out something that I didn't consider (the primary debates).
@Taskr36 (13923)
• United States
2 Oct 12
No, Scott Rasmussen's past has never really bothered me. The only thing that bothers me is the ability of pollsters to leave names like Gary Johnson out of the polling. In response to all the emails they got about him they said they'll start including him if the polls show a significant number of people willing to vote for him. Obviously that can't happen unless his name is in the polls to begin with. Since the polling agencies are private organizations, I can't really see any legitimate action that could be taken against them. If these were polls run by government agencies, it would be different.
@peavey (16876)
• United States
1 Oct 12
I seriously doubt that any of them are accurate and they're completely worthless except to use as political tools. We already have enough political sledge hammers, so I don't see why we pay any attention to polls at all.
• United States
2 Oct 12
I agree there is a question to their accuracy, and usefulness. But, do you think that they should be forced to disclose if they work for anyone trying to influence an election?
@peavey (16876)
• United States
2 Oct 12
Sure. But then, I think that a lot of situations, not just polls, should be a lot more transparent.
@flowerchilde (12547)
• United States
3 Oct 12
Foremost I believe they are influenced by opinion, loyalties and bias. I like how anything not clearly left is considered slanted. I think poll takers and polls are more influenced by ideology (the country has a big case of it) than money, though I wouldn't be surprised at underhanded dealings at all, especially when some on the political scene seem to portray a 'win at aLL costs' mentality (this America must be changed philosophy, I don't agree with it. I like our roots and constitution, I think the progressives are progressing us right into societal and fiscal/economic collapse.) ...and worse once we have declined far enough..
• United States
5 Oct 12
Flower, the conservatives already drove us off the cliff in 2008. Funny how people forget how bad it was four years ago. I guess they either weren't smart enough to understand what was going on, or just wanted to live in their ignorant bliss. Which one are you?
@bestboy19 (5482)
• United States
1 Oct 12
I suppose they could be influenced by money, but I think too many of them are influenced by a desire to influence voters with their results.
• United States
2 Oct 12
That is actually a good point. How do you put a price on the power they have?
@crossbones27 (22365)
• Redlands, California
1 Oct 12
I think they are overrated. I think everything is influenced by money for better or worse.
• United States
2 Oct 12
I agree they are influenced by money, but so is everything else in this country. That is why they should be forced to disclose who is paying them.
@stary1 (6622)
• United States
2 Oct 12
thegreatdebater Polls are just interesting to watch, but not to take too seriously. Too many factors are involved and things can change quickly. I like to use the ones I favor when in a discussion about politics, but I know better than to count on any poll for accuracy..
@Rasniki09 (184)
1 Oct 12
I think the polls are their for talking points. I wonder where they are getting these poll readings. I have never being polled. It their a specific sites that people visit to poll? I am really curious.
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
1 Oct 12
I suppose it would have been all right for you if Rasmussen had been a campaign pollster for the Democrats. Actually Rasmussen is the most accurate poll and you can never go by polls. There are many who do not bother with polls. For instance, they get one poll from their party and then another and then another. AFter a while, one does not answer the polls. With the Major Media who all of them (except for Fox News that is neutral) favour the Democratic party as I wonder why you are all up in knots about Rasmussen being a consultant of the Republicans and Bush? What concerns me is those who vote with emotions and the ethnic group of the candidates rather then the plan for the whole country.
@andy77e (5165)
• United States
1 Oct 12
Could not possible care less. Obama isn't getting my vote no matter what the polls say. Further, the relationship is the reverse. Various political groups support various polls that they find more attractive. But the polls come out first, then money follows. It's like if I started a campaign today, and said I support lowering taxes on businesses, because I support lower taxes on businesses, then businesses would donate to me because they liked my ideas. Very few politicians first get money from political groups, AND THEN, decided what they believe. There have been a few. But most of the time, money does influence what your stance is on an issue, as much as your stance on an issue will determine who gives you money.