September 25, 2018
In an age where everyone can serve as a political pundit on social media and companies consume data points by the millions, it is important to know how to sift through the clutter and identify a good public poll from a bad one. Most of the organizations that release the results of their polls are trustworthy sources. In fact, pollsters tend to follow similar rules when surveying an audience, regardless of the side of the aisle they sit on. It is the application of common practices that set pollsters apart and underscores the science, skill, and style behind the data.
As the 2018 elections approach, consumers of data will be presented with various polls from different sources that have varying results. The following are key reminders to help your team be effective consumers of public data:
The biggest problem in polling is that consumers tend to believe it is a prediction on an election result. It is rather a snapshot in time based on what was happening at that moment. Elections can change on a dime in the world of 24/7 news.
The best thing to do is approach polls with the right questions to ensure you understand who the audience is, how the poll was conducted, and when the data was collected. View polls in this light and you will be able to tell someone if the survey truly “changed the game” or not.