Monday, October 18, 2004

Taking Polls Out of the Equation

In my fantasy of an America where our media actually does its job, the AHAB (Actually Has a Brain) News Network announces on November 3rd:

"Since polls have become increasingly inaccurate at reflecting how Americans really feel and since we believe that polls exert undue influence on determing how Americans will decide elections, AHAB News Network will no longer carry poll results as a part of our news reporting."

In that land of Cupcake Trees and Gumdrop Dreams, a news network actually takes responsibility for its mistakes. No basis in reality, I know.

I took a trip back into the past to look at how accurate our polls were in 2000.

On October 27, 2000 we find CNN reporting:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush holds a 49-to-43 percent edge over Democratic rival Al Gore in the latest CNN/Time poll, conducted Wednesday and Thursday.

The poll of 2,060 adult Americans, including 1,076 likely voters, has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points and is thus in essential agreement with a CNN/USA Today/Gallup tracking poll also released Friday. That poll gives Bush a 52 percent-39 percent edge over Gore. More important, both polls show the same snapshot of the current state of the presidential campaign: a solid advantage for Bush.

ABC News and The Washington Post both have daily tracking polls today putting the race at 48 percent for Bush and 45 percent for Gore. The latest Reuters/MSNBC/Zogby tracking poll has the contest at 45 percent for Gore and 43 percent for Bush.

Considering that Gore actually won the popular vote (and that the result was essentially 49% for Gore, 48% for Bush), it seems the polls were way off on this. Considering there are even more extraneous variables in this election (huge numbers of newly registered voters, young voters not contacted by the polls), I wonder why the nooze networks even bother.

We know why they do... and part of it is they're too lazy to investigate and report real news.


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