Why We Need More Polls

by John Sides on November 10, 2011

in Public opinion

Elmo Roper, 1962:

It may be human to err, but to err time and time again, in precisely the same way, is folly of divine dimensions.

I am talking about journalists—when they tackle the job of predicting elections. Though their impressionistic predictions often land them in electoral soup, journalists keep on preferring the intuition of a backroom “political expert” to the full, exhaustive reporting of the public’s intentions by any source so dry and uninspiring as public-opinion polls. Journalists run about state or nation, talking to people, people, people everywhere in the dozens or even in the hundreds, ignoring the fact that scientific sampling procedures are available to determine which people should be chosen to represent the nation and that the results are available to all.


From the Columbia Journalism Review.  Seems crazy to think that we need more polls now.  But then again, there is all this me-the-peopling.

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