Ignore media polls

Published November 16, 2023

By Gary Pearce

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A week ago, The New York Times published a poll predicting disaster for President Biden and Democrats in big states a year from now.

Two days later, voters gave Democrats big victories in big states: Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Why are media polls so wrong so often?

My suspicion: they’re done on the cheap.

I doubt that media outlets, even The New York Times, are spending the kind of money that good campaigns spend on polls.

Good polls cost a lot. Getting them right is hard.

And the media wants as many clicks as possible, at as little cost as possible.

They should just stop. Stop doing polls, stop reporting polls and stop analyzing polls.

Spend the money on reporters and editors.

But they won’t stop.

Because we, the readers, won’t stop. We won’t stop clicking on stories about polls, sharing them, commenting on them, comparing them and obsessing over them.

It’s addictive. It’s political crack.

I know. I can’t stop.

But I can remind you – and me – now and then: Ignore cheap clickbait polls.