Las Vegas Sun

January 29, 2015

Currently: 59° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Letter to the editor:

Polling is going the way of the dinosaur

Another view?

View more of the Las Vegas Sun's opinion section:

Editorials - the Sun's viewpoint.

Columnists - local and syndicated writers.

Letters to the editor - readers' views.

Have your own opinion? Write a letter to the editor.

Here is something to consider for Election Day. There may be a fundamental and compelling change that has not been discussed in the political theater. The elephant in the room is the dinosaur in the room.

Political predictions rely heavily on time-tested “polling” that costs millions of dollars and is conducted by highly respected, mature research organizations; therein lies the fatal flaw. While impressive in stature, historical polling will be forever changed Tuesday. Not only is social media uncontrollable and unpredictable, it is without the foundation needed for scientific predictions. Additionally, this often-anonymous world of code names and fictitious identities fuels the pool of what media refer to as the “undecideds.” When one lacks accountability and need not offer a real identity, undecideds become important, advancing egos and self worth. The combination of these factors may prove polling as the dinosaur it has been for some time. Perhaps we just didn’t notice the sea change even when it was right in front of us.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 8 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. The best way to bury polls is to ignore them, and never participate in any. That goes for "surveys" as well.

    If enough voters do this, polls & surveys will die, when the results prove them to be unreliable.

    We need a Do Not Call list that includes political calls. Something to work on!

    Wouldn't it be worth it to not have these intrusions in our lives?

    Wouldn't it be worth it go not be manipulated by the polls?

    Wouldn't it be worth it to maintain personal empowerment?

    The manipulators won't think so.

    Some businesses will say it helps them give consumer's what they want. Forget it. Those surveys are more about getting the product in your mind.

    The best consumer poll is purchasing power. Do not settle for something you don't want. The lack of sales will speak loudly. Same for services.

  2. The polls get better as the only poll that counts on Nov 6 gets closer. The polls tell us it's a very close race. Do we need polls to tell us that? Not when President Obama is campaigning in Iowa for 6 electoral votes and New Hampshire with 4. It's very obvious.


  3. Does the letter writer believe that online polls are being used by legitimate pollsters?

    Try here:

  4. Comment removed by moderator. Same (or similar) comment posted on multiple stories.

  5. @ecm,

    "Responsible people with legal authority are monitoring for illegal activity at the polls"

    What part of this do you not understand my friend?

  6. Polls are definitely a joke. So is the president winning re-election by 6 to 8 points. Polls sample such a small size and most I have seen sample more democrats that republicans. I have yet to see a poll that really panned out. It's like odds on a football game, sometimes it just doesn't go the way you expect. Lets wait until Nov 7th to decide.

  7. "They [Americans] can see that Mitt Romney wil say or do anything in order to get a vote." - El_Lobo

    As opposed to President Obama who will say anything to the public but then do what he really wants afterwards. We have had ample evidence of this from his first campaign and later an open mic incident. Think about his statements to the public about NAFTA or the Patriot Act and then what he really did.

    No, Obama doesn't flip-flop per se, he just lies and then does what he wants.

  8. The only time polls seem to count is when your candidate is ahead in one.