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For Whom the Vote Polls

Posted on Friday, April 5, 2024
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by Barry Casselman
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63 Comments
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Every national election, especially those which include a presidential election, has a distinct character in the demographics of its voters that contrasts with previous national elections.

Analyses of these changing demographics are most accurately performed after an election when actual voting numbers are available. But if changing voting patterns could be reliably estimated before an election, that information would be a very useful tool beyond the traditional polling techniques.

In those instances when the dynamics of a changing electorate are especially significant, traditional polls tend not to capture the full scale of the shift taking place. We need to look to other indicators for a hint of future results.

The 2024 elections are just such a cycle.

In the past, the most commonly used poll was a national poll of voters asking their choice of candidate, party or issue. In regard to a presidential election, this increasingly has proved to be a crude and even misleading measurement because, even if accurate, these polls measure national popular vote, and not necessarily the vote in the individual states whose electoral votes actually determine the outcome of the election. In any reasonably close election, which most recent ones have been, this is critical.

In other words, a Democrat might lead a Republican presidential nominee by as much as 3 or 4 points in a national poll and still lose the election by the electoral votes from the states. In recent years, large states such as California, New York and Illinois have huge majorities of voters who are Democrats, and any national poll reflects this bias. In fact, Republicans have recently won two presidential elections while losing the popular vote, in 2000 and 2016.

The only polls, then, which are truly useful are state polls. But even these face the same technical problems which all polls face today — statistical accuracy in the face of growing public unwillingness or availability to be polled. More and more voters decline to answer or are not available to polls. There is also significant variation in statistical accuracy between polls conducted in person, by telephone, or by the internet. This is further complicated by the reluctance of more conservatives than liberals to trust and participate in polling.

At the end of each poll, the pollster lists a margin of error, plus or minus a number of points. In the old days, when voters readily cooperated with pollsters, this was reasonably accurate. But today, with all the problems mentioned above, the margin of error is often not what the pollster claims, but in reality, in the double digits — which means such polls are of little or no use.

Further, the raw numbers of most polls are adjusted using “models”, usually based on the pollster’s subjective assumptions about the voters, in an attempt to achieve a more accurate approximation of the electorate than is reflected by whomever happens to respond to the poll. The results are thus “weighted” using demographic data, and in recent years, this has often critically distorted poll results.

In 2024, there is considerable evidence, much of it anecdotal, but some of it from polling, that there is a significant shift in voters’ party and/or candidate preference by demographic or identity groups which make up each party’s base of voters. This means that “models” and “weighting” based on past elections may be especially difficult to formulate this year.

Polls of subgroups (such as by race, religion, or ethnicity) are not always reliable, so the paradox remains: polls are necessary but not dependable. It is true that the larger the poll sample, the more accurate it is likely to be, but most mass media pollsters often cannot afford such large samples.

A key further refinement between likely voters, registered voters, and all voters is crucial, but also drives up the cost for the pollsters. Only polls of likely voters are useful, especially later in the campaign.

Most campaigns hire pollsters to gauge voter feelings about certain issues and see how they are doing against their opponents at various stages of the campaign. These polls, which are rarely made public, are usually more accurate than public media polls because the pollster is paid more for them, and so has the resources to contact the number of voters to achieve more accuracy.

In each cycle, a few pollsters innovate in their polling method and often have better results.

All of this has been well-known for several recent cycles, but is even more relevant in the very idiosyncratic 2024 cycle. Many voters are, this cycle, in open revolt — faced not only with controversial ballot choices, but also living with economic inflation, open-border crime and terrorism, international uncertainty, and numerous domestic pressures.

The only objective measure of the voters’ temperature so far is the limited results from the early state primary elections. Primary voters traditionally are activists as well as those motivated by close contests. A dearth of the latter has limited what we know about this year’s general election voter, yet there has been some reinforcement of the assumption that certain voter groups are shifting.

But how much are they shifting?

This is the question which remains unanswered by conventional polls. The answer to that question would arguably reveal more about who will win and who will lose when the votes are counted than polls which claim to tell us Donald Trump’s and Joe Biden’s current popular vote numbers.

Because black, Hispanic and Jewish voters have recently voted overwhelmingly for Democrats, only a relatively small percentage shift by these voters could have a decisive impact on the 2024 election.

That is because they are concentrated in the urban areas that give Democrats enough votes to overcome Republican majorities in the rural and other areas of battleground and purple states. Conversely, a small shift of suburban women in these areas could turn the tide to Democrats.

Many pollsters are a step or two behind in asking the questions which might tell us about the current national election. Voters need to know that many polls are tools of manipulation rather than tools for understanding.

In 2024, as was also especially true in 2016, those who want to understand the electorate and what it will do in the actual election will need to look beyond the polls for the anecdotal evidence that is more dependably telling us what will actually happen.

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Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
1 month ago

Ask these people how they can look around at the state of America today and say “I want more of this!” and vote Biden! Better yet ask them “ARE YOU STUPID?”…

Thinking
Thinking
1 month ago

Are polls reliable? No. look at the 2022 election. The red wave predicted by the polls never arrived. Myself I put no value into polls. It leads to lethargy of the voter. We should be polling how many people are going to vote. A poll of a 1,000+ voters is ludicrous and I would put no stock in. Keep track of the MSM propaganda and the dem politicians. Not one except for Manchin have pulled away from the dem party. Till more jump ship polls are useless. It is only a reflection of the mood of those 1,000 plus voters at that moment in time. It is a money maker for the pollsters but not to be believed by the voters. The questions are drafted in such a way that positive results are common. Don’t believe them remember the red wave of 2022 which never happened. The voting is very well controlled by the dems. That is why everybody still supports ole Joe. Billions and billions of dollars are still going to the dem presidential campaign. No business would support the dems if they knew he would lose. The 2024 election is already decided.

D G
D G
1 month ago

Polls are at best useless and at worst misleading. They should not be allowed at all. One’s vote is a private matter. The election results will speak for themselves.

John
John
1 month ago

Polls really serve no real purpose in election’s except to portray whatever the pollsters want them to.
It only serves to discourage people from voting on both sides of the isle because they become disillusioned about the choices they make or the only choices they are presented with.
The money and time should be spent on getting people to actually show up and vote.
I can remember standing in line to vote for an hour or more in the old days.(2 decades ago)
It was seen back than as a right and privilege to exercise your rights to vote as an American.
Unlike today were you never have to wait more than two or three people in line and most of the population consider it a burden to vote.
Even though over half of the Voting population gets paid time off of work to vote, but does everything but vote.

Myrna
Myrna
1 month ago

I am an intimidated voter. The poll that I am looking forward to is the election. Let freedom ring.

Morbious
Morbious
1 month ago

Its true that were black and jewish voters to break with the dem party in a statistically significant way everything would change. Rs have awaited this with gleeful anticipation but this has proven to be miragelike so far. Shumer, Nadler and Schiff haven’t much to worry about. Nor do black elected officials in the blue cities. Hispanics are most likely to switch but those numbers will be nullified by new arrivals grateful for free stuff. I’ll believe when i see it.

Marie Langley
Marie Langley
1 month ago

I do not pay attention to the polls mainly because of what happened in the midterms of 2022. All we kept hearing was RED WAVE, RED WAVE and it never happened. I think we should shut up about the polls and how Trump is going to win and let us slip in quietly and stomp the Biden crime family like an insect! Saying Trump is going to win only motivates the left to cheat and steal the election like last time.

At a place where truth rules
At a place where truth rules
1 month ago

Polls or surveys are skeptical at best. I do not trust what I see, as the history of cheating is apparent, wrong, and disgusting. Who are the people who cheat?
The New Chair of the RNC laid out plans to seek truth in voting. For me, I do not doubt cheating occurred, as testified b
So, if a hint of cheating, voter changing, gimmicks of rations, hidden agendas, or voting fraud is murmured, every one of us should file a civil suit for the denial of Constitutional rights, millions across the entire nation.
It is time for the naysayers, cheats, and misguided to pack up and leave, for you certainly do not represent a just and free United States of laws and citizenship.

Joe
Joe
1 month ago

Ignore the polls. VOTE!!!

Pat R
Pat R
1 month ago

Are polls used to manipulate voters? I think it’s a real possibility, because it works as it did in 2022. A predicted red wave failed to materialize because that prediction had many Republican voters not bother to vote thinking ‘it was in the bag’.
The same thing will be in play for the 2024 presidential election. I just hope most realize they still need to vote in person Nov 5th to make sure of the outcome (assuming no cheating).

Moonpup
Moonpup
1 month ago

It’s long been my contention that closely packed people in urban areas deplete the oxygen more than in the countryside. Oxygen depletion leads to hypoxia, hypoxia leads to brain damage and brain damage leads to voting Dimocrat. This along with voter fraud can explain the “election” of Biden. While I believe that the man got 81 million votes, I don’t believe that there were 81 million individuals who actually voted for him. Almost all his “votes” came from urban areas where cheating is much easier, especially in the states with little to no oversight in voting, mail-in ballots, no photo ID required, etc.

Jerry
Jerry
1 month ago

I prefer and would be proud to wear an “I voted Crooked Joe out” sticker on my lapel.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
1 month ago

Dont trust polls only ideal for Trends then Polls count around Sept-Oct timeline

Rabi
Rabi
1 month ago

polls are corrupt, they tell you the race is close so when election fraud occurs like 2020 you think it was close, so it doesn’t look like fraud. Pray Trump 2024 or America is a country doomed for communism.

Philip Seth Hammersley
Philip Seth Hammersley
1 month ago

Don’t be lulled to sleep by “polls” showing DJT winning going away! WHO runs the polls and whom do they poll? Fight like we are down 10%!!!

Nick
Nick
1 month ago

Historically polls are wildly skewed. They’re only intended to influence voters, and generally are very wrong. They get closer and closer to reality as the actual election gets closer and closer. At some point if the poles don’t reflect reality the people conducting the polls will not get hired again.

George Ruben Rivera Jr
George Ruben Rivera Jr
1 month ago

And yet, the Panic in the Leftist Media tells us a lot about the tsunami they see as but a small, white line far offshore. They know that, when it arrives, the mountain of water will wash their nonsense away. That small, far-off white line is made up of all those who have awakened in their supposedly “safe” groups of Blacks, Hispanics, and the Youth.

Al Wunsch
Al Wunsch
1 month ago

The polls on the issues favor Trump by a wide margin, yet the presidential polls show consistent close margins Makes one wonder about the accuracy of the polls. May be that respondents are more comfortable opining on the issues than on how they may vote

Rick
Rick
1 month ago

This is where term limits, the ousting of special interests groups and if you have a worth of $1M and own your own home, you will be a volunteer politician no tax break, no donating pay.There will be no riches as a politician.Pay for those regular candidates/office holders will be normal standard pay, paid annually

Jess
Jess
1 month ago

In MHO , Polls really shouldn’t be necessary for voters across the Republic, given all that has transpired since the Biden Administration came to power! There isn’t enough space nor time to make a list of every thing they have managed to get wrong here! The voters who truly have the legitimacy to cast a vote in November need only answer the one question Ronald Regan once posed.
Are you better off today then you were Four years ago? HELLO!

David
David
1 month ago

After 911 which I remember precisely, how can any president allow this country to have a open border to the world, it’s irrational and malicious to every citizen of this country. But people still vote for Biden. It seems they would rather have a dictator rule this country instead of freedom.

Judith Gregory
Judith Gregory
1 month ago

Still cannot get it through my head how non-citizens are being permitted to vote! It’s illegal, as some of them are, and un-Constitutional!!!!!!!!!

Sean Rickman
Sean Rickman
1 month ago

The article says Illinois,when its chitcago,most of the rest of the state is normal.There is a petition in the state to remove the rest of us from the state of chitcago.I would sign it.As for the other part of the elections,the democrats will lie,cheat,manufacture fake democrat entities and who knows what else they would do,NO option for them is out of sight.

Joanne 4 justiice
Joanne 4 justiice
1 month ago

It will be quite interesting to see if we are permitted to vote AND have a truly honest election,!

Paul W
Paul W
1 month ago

Well done article. The ONLY polling that I put even a little confidence in is “Trafalgar”. The rest are proven garbage.

Elaine
Elaine
1 month ago

This is a back door process to destroy our elections, that is why our forefathers set up the electoral college to have every vote count equally whether from the urban or rural population. Otherwise the more populous regions would be the only votes to carry weight in the counting process when urban is 51% to the lesser population.
Fight this faulty thinking which is starting to permeate our opinions of what is fair in counting votes that is communist propaganda.

Randall L. Beatty
Randall L. Beatty
1 month ago

If people are happy with what is going on vote for more Biden&Harris people vote just because they are Dems and will never vote for Trump so they would rather see this country go down the drain then to do something different but the Dem hate for Trump is so bad they do not care what happens here they will stay with Biden and blame Trump for everything very sad what this country has come to hate rules who someone will vote for and point the finger at someone else.

Steven
Steven
1 month ago

In the deep blue state of Maryland where there is an extremely large number of government workers who always vote Democrat, there really isn’t any need to worry about polling for a National Election. I believe that the last time Maryland voted Republican was when Ronald Reagan ran for President against Jimmy Carter.

Bryan K
Bryan K
1 month ago

Polls are now being used to manipulate voting and non voting. Certain media outlets know just how to manipulate these polls to get the ignorant to say to themselves that it is no use in casting my vote, as it doesn’t matter according to the polls.
The best thing for all to do is to vote and pay no attention to the manipulation techniques the MSM use to sway your vote or to get you not to vote.

Jerry
Jerry
1 month ago

REMEMBER THE GOOD OLE DAYS WHEN YOU STOOD IN LINE, PRESENTED YOUR ID, AND CAST YOUR PAPER BALLOT? THEN, ALL YOU HAD TO WORRY ABOUT WAS THAT YOUR VOTE WAS ONLY COUNTED AND NOT THROWN AWAY BY THE HUMAN COUNTERS ,.

Paul
Paul
1 month ago

I’m voting For Trump in 2024.
and the Colorado Republicans thar are not RINOS.
I have the list of conservative Republican Colorado Senate and Colorado House that share my Constitutional patriotism.
Alot of the others are drinking Bidens Kool-Aide!

Barrett T Smith
Barrett T Smith
1 month ago

How are the illegals polling?

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