An Introduction to How 'Polling Works'

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by ByLoSellHi, Oct 3, 2008.

  1. Dedicated to a friend on ET who I often disagree with, but who doesn't understand how polling works.

    I had the good fortune, as many other people here did, to have a statistics course in college.

    Not everyone has had the opportunity or interest in taking a college level statistics class, so, the last thing I want to do is suggest as if those who are familiar with polling methodology are smarter than those who have. That's simply not the case.

    But since there's so much confusion about 'polling' in this acrimonious election cycle, valid scientific polling is not a product of 'a liberal media' (FOX News has some of the best Polling), is not 'biased' (that would invalidate the poll as inherently flawed) and legitimately designed polling is inherently accurate withing the statistical margin of error (always denoted), I thought I'd post this introduction on 'polling methodology' for those who haven't had any courses on this subject or who haven't had exposure to this subject independently:

    "Both camps claimed victory in a debate unlikely to dramatically change a White House race that Obama leads. Two polls taken after the debate, by CNN and CBS News, judged Biden the winner, but the CNN poll found a big majority thought Palin did better than expected."

    From fox news

    Question of the Day
    Who won the vice presidential debate Thursday?

    Sarah Palin 40%

    Joe Biden 60%

    Total Voters:95554
  3. balda


    From CNN website

    Quick Vote
    Who fared better in the vice presidential debate?
    Sen. Joe Biden 70% 134244
    Gov. Sarah Palin 26% 50833
    Neither 4% 6866

    Total Votes: 191943