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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

More Bogus Polls

After the disaster that the pollsters gave us in the November election when they nearly all predicted an easy Clinton victory that turned out to be a Trump win, you would think that the pollsters would tighten their procedures to avoid further embarrassment.  Apparently that is not the case.  I was looking this morning at the ongoing polls of job approval for President Trump.  There are two organizations that poll this question almost every day:  Rasmussen and Gallup.  Both are well known, long-established polling groups.  The problem is that between the two polls this morning there is a swing of 18% in the margin in the polls.  This difference is well outside the margin of error, so it is not statistical noise.  Over the last two weeks, the Rasmussen poll has found both approval and disapproval of President Trump staying relatively steady with the percentages moving within a band of plus/minus one.  Gallup, on the other hand, during the same period found the margin of disapproval increasing by 5 points.  Even the overall view expressed in the two polls is different:  Rasmussen finds net approval by 4% while Gallup finds disapproval by a margin of 14%.  There is simply no way that both pollsters can be correct.

This is not the first time that the polling results regarding President Trump have been clearly wrong.  Just a few weeks ago, there was a difference of 25% between two polls taken over the same time period on this question.  That time, there was clearly a bad poll taken by Quinipiac.  When that organization next polled the question a few days later, it found that approval of President Trump had risen by about ten percentage point, a move that is essentially impossible given that there had been no major event to move the needle like that.

The one important takeaway from all of this is quite simple:  don't believe the polls; some of them are clearly and very wrong.  There's no way of knowing from the results themselves, but it certainly seems as if some of the pollsters are either extremely poor at their work or else they have joined the Fake News movement. 

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