Following Polls

Following Polls

One of the least accurate elements of the news, in my opinion, is the reporting of opinion polls. If you think this is always someone else, you may be part of the problem.

Polls are not precise measurements and results vary. That’s why you have a probability (often 90% or 95%) that the results fall within a range. Headlines that report a rise or fall in poll results are frequently based on changes that are within that margin or error.

I’ve seen several reports on polls regarding president Trump, as in his approval is falling, or no it’s not. This is not for or against the president. It’s about accurate data.

Got to FiveThirtyEight.com, scroll down the sidebar until you see the graph of the president’s approval ratings. You can get a good deal of information just looking at the graph, but you can also click on the link to get more. This graph represents an aggregate.

In general, I dismiss all headlines. But I definitely do not believe any headline that talks about polls, or generally about numbers.

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