“Polls are deployed only when they might prove useful — that is, helpful to the powers that be in their question to maintain their position and influence.” — Christopher Hitchens, Harper’s Magazine, 1992
The latest rod by which to beat the President of the United States is a Washington Post/ABC News poll showing Mr. Trump’s approval ratings languishing at 36 per cent. … But the “small print” on the polls reveals something quite disturbing about the methodology of the group responsible.
The poll was performed by AbtAssociates — a swamp dweller-staffed research and policy shop in Cambridge, MA. AbtAssociates board members include former Bob Dole, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Planned Parenthood, World Bank, and Deloitte staffers. In other words, it is a microcosm of the party of Davos. …
Since this time last year they have over-represented Democrat voters in their studies. For this latest one, 35 per cent of their respondents were Democrats, 23 per cent were Republicans, 35 per cent were Independents (who in turn lean towards voting Democrat), six per cent said ‘Other’, and two per cent had no opinion on the matter. …
A process called Random Digit Dialling biases the selection of people polled:
Young cell phone users made up the dominant part of the poll, and cell phone-only households made up nearly half the interviews. It should not take a political scientist to work out how this, combined with the Dem/Ind bent (70 per cent) of the respondents, makes the poll unrepresentative.
Political polling is often junk:
Take what Christopher Hitchens said in my favourite book ever, Letters to a Young Contrarian:
“The first thing to notice, surely, is that these voyages into the ocean of the public mind are chartered and commissioned by wealthy and powerful organisations, who do not waste their money satisfying mere curiosity. The tactics are the same as those of market research; the point is not to interpret the world but to change it. A tendency to favor one product over another is something not to be passively discovered and observed but to be nurtured, encouraged and exploited.”
He didn’t stop there. In 1992 he said the “racket” of opinion polling has tried to become a substitute for democracy.
Daily Presidential Tracking Poll. The Rasmussen poll seems to be fair, and at least reliable and consistent. Trump’s not doing too badly, despite the media: