Polls: Total garbage … or, canaries in the coal mine?

Pundits are trashing online polls and praising “scientific” ones.


Let’s take some risk today …

As I write this, the expected flurry of so-called scientific post-debate polls haven’t hit the airwaves yet.

Early on Tuesday, we posted about the online polls that showed Trump to have won the debate.

I pointed out that I thought Trump got crushed so I was surprised … especially since the polls were from a range of sites from far-right Drudge to far-left CBS-NY.

I doubted that the shaky Trump organization has a system in place to troll all those sites and stuff all those ballot boxes.

Well, the mass media went nuts … disparaging those polls and putting their golden eggs in the basket of the scientific polls.

Case in point the newspaper of record: the NY Times.




The media and professional pollster (who get paid a lot to be about as accurate as weather forecasters) may be right, but here are a couple of angles for you to consider …


Going beyond the “who won the debate” polls, a daily tracking poll that draws the ire of most polling pros is the LA Times survey.

For the record, Nate Silver —  liberals’ fair-haired poll analyzer — has defended the LA Times methodology….

In a nutshell, it’s a panel of a couple of thousand respondents who weigh in every day.  The survey is conducted online (bad, bad) and the sample isn’t constantly being refreshed.

So, most of the pros think it’s garbage.

My view: I watch it closely, for 2 reasons:

(1) It goes into the RealClearPolitics average … so it carries sway.  RCP thinks it’s legit … and, it accounts for most of the day variation in the RCP average (since it’s the only included poll that reports daily.

(2) While I haven’t precisely matched the numbers, it’s my sense that the LAT results catch changes in the overall polling a couple of days ahead of the pack.  It caught Trump’s slump before others and caught his rebound.  I think there’s solid information there.

What does the LAT survey say since the debates?

Not only did Trump not suffer from his debate performance and the follow-up Miss Universe junk … he has gained ground on Hillary.

He has been widening a lead.



Now, that’s an unexpected outcome right?

May explain why pollsters are dragging their feet with their poll results.

Let’s see if the LAT survey  is a veritable canary in the coal mine, or just a piece of garbage

We’ll know in the next couple of days.

I’m betting that there’s a canary tweeting.

Won’t that be interesting ….



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2 Responses to “Polls: Total garbage … or, canaries in the coal mine?”

  1. chasqui Says:

    “I doubted that the shaky Trump organization has a system in place to troll all those sites and stuff all those ballot boxes”

    However, Putin does. There’s evidence that a lot of positive Trump buzz is coming from .ru

  2. SJ Says:

    I voted online for Trump, just to upset un-indicted felon Hillary, and have no connections to Putin. Hey, Vladimir, please mail me a check when you have a chance.

    They social media movement for Trump is massive and I did not identify any suspect of being a Putin “plant.” If there is something the Russians are know for, is their poor organizational skills. They may be good a creating chaos through hacking but I doubt their operations are very refined.

    In any case, no poll is “scientific.” They may try to use statistical science better than others to predict the outcome but usually fall short.

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