Some polls today have Donald Trump up 6 points over Hillary Clinton. Just a short while ago it was reversed. Everyday we are bombarded with more polls and told they are the real thing. Well, sure, maybe, but they are like a snapshot of the moment. And when you take a deeper look at the polls regarding who they polled, you may get a bit closer to reality. I like checking those stats when the pollsters allow them to be released. Some do some don't.
I usually look at the weighted percentages of what ideology was polled. Nationally and within states there are differences. And the big question to me and the rest of the political junkies is "who will turn out"? Is the poll simply asking "people"? Or "likely voters"? Or "registered voters"? Is it weighted towards democrats, republicans, independents? Blacks, whites, Hispanics? Trying to ascertain the veracity of the polling results is tough. Then you have the question of who is polling? Is it the Democrats? Republicans? So you must look at the underlying company to get a more accurate look at why they are polling and their political bent.
I have seen many polls I call "push/pull polls". They are specifically designed to sway a potential voter. To convince them of some person or position. I have been the subject of this regarding initiatives on the ballot in California. I answer the questions as if I am a middle of the road voter. I know some interest group is doing the poll as I ask them who is sponsoring. Most of the time they don't even know but after a few questions you can figure it out.
With the advent of millions of cell phones, it is now even more difficult to get the results. Hard line phones mean someone is home while a cell phone can mean the opposite. And how do they get your cell number? No phone books exist for them so it has to be randomly created by a computer (unless posted on the registration by the voter). And in the poll I look to see the percentages of "answers". Did they call fifty to get one? This stat is hard to find but when available it tells me a lot about the poll results. It shows me the level of interest of the people.
In this year's Presidential race we see the polls reported everyday. And who decides which one to report? News media types? We all know they are biased way left. That was the main reason I started to look deeper into the polls. I just don't trust the media and if you don't either, go look inside a reported poll and you will see why. When I see a democrat up I look at the percentages of partyliners and it will show them with a greater than average of democrats called. Same for all. So don't get fooled. Even though Trump is up by 6 today, the underlying demographics should be reviewed. Then you can decide if you trust the results.
For me, these polls are all interesting in that they can show a "trend". But American voters can be fickle to the last moment. Remember George W. Bush and his DUI story? Almost to election day he lead by a comfortable margin but when the story broke he lost enough points in the polls to give us that 2000 nailbiter. So people can change their minds and by election day the only poll that counts is your vote. My advice to all is don't get too excited about these daily polls and simply review them as a interesting read. Look into the poll for details and then wait for election day for the results.