First, some points about the limits of polls. Random sample polling is an imprecise instrument. There's an error margin of 3 or 4 percent, and polling theory tells us that one out of 20 polls is wrong, with results outside the margin of error. Sometimes it's easy to spot such an...
"Useful idiots" That was a term that had a particular meaning during the Cold War, but aptly describes something that is anathema to most Americans. In other words, many mainstream Americans in 2012 simply don't want to be "used" by pollsters and either "don't have time" to participate or give misleading answers when they do participate. I happen to be an example. The only polling in which I will be sincere is in the polling place when I enter a private voting booth.
As a recovering pollster (I worked for Democratic pollster Peter Hart from 1974 to 1981), let me weigh in on the controversy over whether the polls are accurate. Many conservatives are claiming that multiple polls have overly Democratic samples, and some charge that media pollsters are trying to discourage Republican voters.
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