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Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. 23 Nov '11 00:58
    Heck, how do we know any of them are? People often determine who to vote for on election day because of poll numbers. In theory, poll numbers can sway people to not vote for those with low poll numbers because of the perception that a certain candidate does not have a chance of winning.

    Poll numbers can sway an election (in theory) so how do we know they are not fixed?
  2. 23 Nov '11 01:38 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by Metal Brain
    Heck, how do we know any of them are? People often determine who to vote for on election day because of poll numbers. In theory, poll numbers can sway people to not vote for those with low poll numbers because of the perception that a certain candidate does not have a chance of winning.

    Poll numbers can sway an election (in theory) so how do we know they are not fixed?
    Respectfully, that is like asking did we really land on the moon in 1969. Maybe we didn't. Maybe it was a conspiracy to deceive the American people and the world, for whatever reason(s).

    As for polls, the techniques and raw data are open for scrutiny. Further, the polls tend to be farily consistent across all organizations conducting the polls, left or right, rich or poor, establishment or anti-establishment, etc.

    It just seems far-fetched to think that all of the polls are rigged.

    Sure, what poll results and any associated conclusions that are presented are commonly affected by the ideology of the organization conducting and/or discussing the poll. Moreover, polls can be affected by phrasing of the poll questions, for example, but the statistical techniques have really become sophisticated and neutral for credibility reasons. And, again, the actual poll results and raw data collected are generally consistent accross the multitudes of organizations that conduct polls.

    I would contend it a far-fetched conspiracy to think that all the polling organizations are in it together in concert to amazingly crank out the same false results time and time again without detection.

    As an aside, cults tend to make far-fetched assertions, promote far-out conspiracies, and attack the "boogey man" in an effort to make their cult and beliefs/ideology more relevant. Or to explain why their cult is only accepted by a tiny minority, for instance.
  3. 23 Nov '11 02:05
    Originally posted by moon1969
    Respectfully, that is like asking did we really land on the moon in 1969. Maybe we didn't. Maybe it was a conspiracy to deceive the American people and the world, for whatever reason(s).

    As for polls, the techniques and raw data are open for scrutiny. Further, the polls tend to be farily consistent across all organizations conducting the polls, left o ...[text shortened]... re relevant. Or to explain why their cult is only accepted by a tiny minority, for instance.
    Gingrich doing well in the polls may give credibility to my prediction, but I don't see much reason for his rise in the polls. Most people don't watch the debates so I doubt that is the reason.

    To what do you attribute his rise in the polls lately?
  4. 23 Nov '11 02:07
    Originally posted by Metal Brain
    Heck, how do we know any of them are? People often determine who to vote for on election day because of poll numbers. In theory, poll numbers can sway people to not vote for those with low poll numbers because of the perception that a certain candidate does not have a chance of winning.

    Poll numbers can sway an election (in theory) so how do we know they are not fixed?
    "Poll numbers can sway an election (in theory) so how do we know they are not fixed?"

    We can be pretty sure they are almost all at least a little biased. Who commissions the poll, that is pays the pollster? The trick for the pollster is to get the result desired without being over the top.

    As far as believing them, I tend to weight them based on past history. How close do they come to predicting actual results? Some are regularly wrong by large margins, while others tend to be very close to correct.
  5. 23 Nov '11 02:18
    Originally posted by Metal Brain
    Gingrich doing well in the polls may give credibility to my prediction, but I don't see much reason for his rise in the polls. Most people don't watch the debates so I doubt that is the reason.

    To what do you attribute his rise in the polls lately?
    The polls have a small audience, but almost everyone is exposed to the news media's commentary on them.

    The ups and downs in a primary with 8 or more candidates tends to not say much. Romney has hovered at about 20% give or take and has the steadiest support.

    What's left seems to migrate from one candidate to another. Newt's new-found popularity my be from either positives for him or negatives of some other candidate with similar ideas. We'll only see if he or Romney has real staying power when the field starts thinning. Romney will need to get higher than the low 20% to win, and it seems now with the best organization and most money to spend he's not getting it done.
  6. 23 Nov '11 02:20
    Originally posted by normbenign
    "Poll numbers can sway an election (in theory) so how do we know they are not fixed?"

    We can be pretty sure they are almost all at least a little biased. Who commissions the poll, that is pays the pollster? The trick for the pollster is to get the result desired without being over the top.

    As far as believing them, I tend to weight them based on ...[text shortened]... ts? Some are regularly wrong by large margins, while others tend to be very close to correct.
    Which polls do you think are close to correct?
  7. 23 Nov '11 02:24
    Originally posted by Metal Brain
    Which polls do you think are close to correct?
    I like Rassmussen and Zogbi.
  8. 23 Nov '11 23:09 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Metal Brain
    Gingrich doing well in the polls may give credibility to my prediction, but I don't see much reason for his rise in the polls. Most people don't watch the debates so I doubt that is the reason.

    To what do you attribute his rise in the polls lately?
    It is the debates and less so some TV appearances. Gingrich is a bright guy and very knowledgable and comes across that way in the debates. That and the lack of attractive alternatives are the primary reasons for his temporary rise.

    I think the debates can be much more influential than you imply, at least for swings in the polling numbers. Perry really suffered because of the debates. Gingrich got noticed and is benefitting.
  9. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    24 Nov '11 00:07
    Originally posted by Metal Brain
    Poll numbers can sway an election (in theory) so how do we know they are not fixed?
    Perhaps you should not let poll numbers sway you on an election day. That would counteract your concerns about the polls being fixed.
  10. 24 Nov '11 05:08
    Originally posted by FMF
    Perhaps you should not let poll numbers sway you on an election day. That would counteract your concerns about the polls being fixed.
    I don't let the polls sway me on election day. Unfortunately, most people are not as wise as me. One vote has never decided a presidential election and it is unlikely to ever happen, but you can't convince others it is sound logic to vote their first choice. It is easier to just inform them of instant run-off voting and hope they tell others.
  11. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    24 Nov '11 05:26
    Originally posted by Metal Brain
    I don't let the polls sway me on election day. Unfortunately, most people are not as wise as me.
    I thought this was what you meant. Is this the premise you want to debate?
  12. Standard member spruce112358
    Democracy Advocate
    24 Nov '11 07:36
    Originally posted by Metal Brain
    I don't let the polls sway me on election day. Unfortunately, most people are not as wise as me. One vote has never decided a presidential election and it is unlikely to ever happen, but you can't convince others it is sound logic to vote their first choice. It is easier to just inform them of instant run-off voting and hope they tell others.
    Some European countries have a better system than in the US -- there is a first round of voting and then the top two candidates from that round have a run-off.

    So in the first round you are free to vote your conscience and in the second round you vote for who you can most easily live with.
  13. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    24 Nov '11 13:37
    Originally posted by Metal Brain
    Heck, how do we know any of them are? People often determine who to vote for on election day because of poll numbers. In theory, poll numbers can sway people to not vote for those with low poll numbers because of the perception that a certain candidate does not have a chance of winning.

    Poll numbers can sway an election (in theory) so how do we know they are not fixed?
    Because pollsters are tested at election time. If its polls churned out "bad" results then it's punished with bad publicity next time (RR in 2010 is a good example). If a pollster's results are consistently out of step and wrong, eventually, the media will stop paying attention to them.
  14. 24 Nov '11 15:45
    Originally posted by spruce112358
    Some European countries have a better system than in the US -- there is a first round of voting and then the top two candidates from that round have a run-off.

    So in the first round you are free to vote your conscience and in the second round you vote for who you can most easily live with.
    You prefer this sytem to proportional representation? Countries with the system you mention still usually have only two or three parties, like in France.
  15. 25 Nov '11 03:55
    Originally posted by spruce112358
    Some European countries have a better system than in the US -- there is a first round of voting and then the top two candidates from that round have a run-off.

    So in the first round you are free to vote your conscience and in the second round you vote for who you can most easily live with.
    The US effectively does the same thing with primaries, and some States use that method for State offices.