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OPINION

Polls Show Polls Are Worthless

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Have you seen the latest polls? Probably not, but you’ve likely heard about them. Joe Biden’s approval rating is up, or down. Donald Trump is crushing Ron DeSantis…or he’s losing to him, depending on the poll and how many other candidates are listed. The American people care deeply about whatever and support the exact opposite because why not? What I’m trying to say it polls are worthless, especially this far away from an election, but they serve a purpose for the people conducting them and those conveying the “information” in them, so they won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

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You’d think the fact that polling over the last 10-12 years has been about as accurate as a drunken Stevie Wonder at the shooting range would lead media outlets and candidates to stop giving them so much weight, but you’d be wrong. Reporting on polls is easy; meaningless, but easy. It’s making news for the sake of something to talk about and allows various outlets to preach to whatever choir they’ve assembled for themselves, but it is worthless because they’ve become like everything else in political reporting: a giant, vacant wing in the echo chamber.

You can get a poll to say whatever you want it to say, it all has to do with how you word the questions and which questions the pollster asks. From that jumping off point you can literally get anywhere you want to go, facts be damned.

Abortion is the perfect issue to illustrate this. Democrat cite polls that say the American public want abortion to be legal and will talk about the numbers, somewhere around 60 percent. But they will take that number and extrapolate it to mean support for what the Planned Parent wing of the Democrat Party wants, which is abortion on-demand up to the moment the kid goes off to college, or birth. 

Republicans cite polls showing the American public supports restrictions on abortion after the first trimester – three months to “make up your mind or it’s too late.” And the public full opposes partial birth abortions, which is something Democrats never acknowledge. 

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All are true, and they have the polls to back it up. But they all miss the most important aspect of the data: is it the issue that motivates someone to vote?

Someone can be as pro-life or pro-abortion as anyone could possibly be, if that isn’t THE ISSUE that motivates their vote it doesn’t matter. A pro-life voter could care more about the economy and vote for a pro-abortion candidate because they’re better on what they care about most, or vice-versa. Neither side bothers reporting on the motivating factor behind someone’s vote, they simply glom onto the numbers that best bolster their case and ignore everything else.

Come election day people are shocked that a district that is very pro-whatever elected someone who isn’t. This is why.

But there’s no money in nuance, and there are no ratings. Everything is either the best or the worst, wonderful or terrible, good or bad. Anyone on cable news who replies to a question on a topic they know nothing about (and very few, if any, guests on cable news know anything about the subject at hand, I promise you) with a, “You know, I really don’t know what’s best or what will happen next” will never be on cable news again. Ignorance doesn’t matter, as long as it’s said with confidence. “It’s not lie if you believe it,” said George Costanza. “It’s not a lie if you only use the part of the truth that is useful to you and ignore the rest,” said everyone in media.

Polls a year before anyone votes are irrelevant, polls before someone even announces they’re running are irrelevant. They are conducted to make news and no other reason. 

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This won’t stop, and people won’t stop citing them. But if polls were an accurate reflection of anything other than the hopes of the people conducting them we would’ve had President Hillary Clinton. Thank God polls suck. Just don’t forget that fact as we get closer to the primaries and the general election, because it’s not about the change anytime soon because there’s far too much money in it. 

Derek Hunter is the host of a free daily podcast (subscribe!), host of a daily radio show, and author of the book, Outrage, INC., which exposes how liberals use fear and hatred to manipulate the masses, and host of the weekly “Week in F*cking Review” podcast where the news is spoken about the way it deserves to be. Follow him on Twitter at @DerekAHunter.

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