September 20, 2008

Polling Inaccuracy and Delusion

Should we be polling elections to see who people will vote for?

Think about it: How can it be truly democratic to know what other people are voting for, which party supposedly has "momentum" and who has the biggest % of the polls?

If you're voting for the party that has momentum or the biggest % according to the polls then you're not really making a democratic choice are you? You're just following it like a sheep following a herd.

Also, how accurate is polling anyway? The polls typically have a line that says "this poll is accurate within 3%, 19 times out 20"... which essentially means the real numbers could be dramatically different 5% of the time.

But there's a fallacy in that statement, and here's why:

1. Not everyone talks to pollsters on the phone. Some just hang up.
2. Some people use only cellphones and don't get polled.
3. Some people only answer the phone if they recognize the number calling.
4. Some people who do get polled don't vote anyway.
5. People can change their minds about who their voting for (I frequently don't decide until I'm physically in front of the ballot box).
6. Polls don't count the people who are undecided.
7. Some people just plain forget to vote.

And a myriad other reasons that could change the accuracy and validity of polls.

And frankly how does the numbers matter anyway? Shouldn't we be more concerned about the issues? Abortion, education, health care, the environment, the economy, the recession in the United States, wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and a possible war with Iran... these are issues that need to be talked about seriously.

Lets take the upcoming Canadian election as an example:

The Issues, The Conservatives, The Liberals

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