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πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Political Science of Polling πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Understanding the Numbers πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

August 5, 2015

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ The Political Science of Polling in a very imprecise statistical sampling is the topic of this article. However, this topic will be utilizing the principal of “keep it simple” so everyone will learn how to Digest the figures that the News Media throw at us every Day.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Understanding the Numbers is not the easy task of simply looking at which figure is bigger. Polling analysis also requires carefully examination of the Question given to the Statistically Sampled Population, and the Methodology of selecting the Sampled Group of participants.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Meaning of the Polling Statistics is determined by the
(A) Group Sampled, is the group representative of the whole
(B) Question Asked, is the question direct and unambiguous
(C) Polling Question that are improperly worded and/or ambiguous may likely deliver inconsistent responses to the Poll Database.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ FOX Presidential Prime Time August 2015 Debate. Above is the podium layout for FOX’s broadcast to begin at 8:50pm on Thursday, August 6th. FOX used the current average of five national polling statistics, where the Top Two Candidates are at Center-Stage, then Scott Walker is 3rd at Left, and Huckabee 4th on the Right, and likewise for the other 6 candidates.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ FOX Presidential 5PM Broadcast August 2015 Debate. Above is the podium layout for FOX’s broadcast to begin at 5:00pm for one Hour on Thursday, August 6th. FOX used the current average of five national polling statistics, where the Top Two Candidates of the bottom 7, are at Center-Stage, then the next ranking is at Left, and the next on the Right, and likewise for the remaining candidates.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Larry Sabado’s Crystal Ball internet site created at University of Virginia, as Larry is the Chair of the nationally known Center for Politics. The three panels below Sabado updated on August 3rd, 2015.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Scientific, Non Biased Public Opinion Poll is a type of survey or inquiry designed to measure the public’s views regarding a particular topic or Candidates, or series of topics. Carefully trained interviewers ask precisely scripted questions, of people that may be chosen at random from the population being measured, or pelople that are stratified by “Likely Voters” or “Voted in the 2012 Election.”

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Public Opinion Polling Responses are collected, and interpretations of the statistics are made based on examination of the responses. It is important in a Random-Sampling that everyone in the population being studied has an equal chance of participating. Otherwise, the results could be biased and, therefore, not representative of the population. Representative samples are chosen in order to make generalizations about a particular population being studied.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Professor Ian McAllister has studied trends of federal elections since 1987. “Voters like to back a winner, they don’t like to back a loser so if they see a Party or Individual leading in the polls they’re much more likely to gravitate towards it,” he says.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Research into the ‘bandwagon effect’ in the United States and the UK have been widely quoted. In terms of the actual elections themselves, nobody wants to be the early-leader, everybody wants to be the underdog. The political party leading in the polls can get a bounce of one, two, or three percent at the Ballot Box as young, undecided voters jump on the bandwagon.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Bandwagon Effect Theory, it’s not a huge effect in percentage terms; However, in closely fought elections, 0.5% to 1.0% can be the difference between Winning or Loosing the Election. Particularly, in the United States, the bandwagon effect has been extensively analyzed and debated during presidential and primary elections.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Polls tell us what proportion of a population has a specific viewpoint towards a Political Candidate or topic. They do not explain why respondents believe as they do or how to change their minds. This is the work of social scientists and scholars. Polls are simply a measurement tool that tells us how a population “thinks and feels” about any given Political Candidate or topic, at this precise Moment in Time.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Polling can be useful in helping different cultures understand one another because it gives the people a chance to speak for themselves instead of letting only vocal media {stars} speak on behalf of all. Opinion polling gives people who do not usually have access to the media an opportunity to be heard.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Reading Opinion Polls. Percentages in an opinion poll reflect the proportion of a given population that has a particular response. If the results of a scientific poll claiming a 3% Margin of Error {MoE} say that 30% of Americans like Vanilla Ice Cream, this means that if we asked all Americans this identical question, we would expect between 27% and 33% to say they like Vanilla Ice Cream.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Scientific Polls compared to Snap Polling. When a radio or TV station asks its listeners to call in to vote on a particular issue, the results of this polling activity are not scientific because the sample is not representative of the population in the listening area. The sample reflects only the people who happen to be watching or listening to the Broadcast and are also motivated to call in. This polling data cannot be extrapolated or generalized to represent the whole population because the respondents were not randomly selected, and therefore, they are not uniformly representative.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Current Polling of the Presidential Candidates may be more indicative of the level of TV and Print coverage than one’s true preference when voting. Briefly, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are receiving almost all of the current Media Coverage, and accordingly they are receiving higher and increasing polling results.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Hillary Clinton however, the current news is unfavorable regarding her destroying information that was Subpoenaed by Congress, and now a DC Judge is threatening judicial action for the non-delivery of information and the insecure home-brew server.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Trump Polling Anomaly πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ The Trump Anomaly. What is causing the apparent “surge” in the polling for Donald Trump, and what do these number mean? For the Republican candidates the Donald is a “Media Sensation” because of his brash and insulting remarks. Trump is very effectively manipulating the media. Every Day Trump develops another annoying or prejudicial remark and the media follows Trump wherever he goes… So it should be no surprise that current polling reflects increasing polling results for Trump.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Trump currently holds 23.2% of the Republican Polling Preferences as of August 3, 2015 according to the Real Clear Politics {RCP} average of the most recent 5 National Polls. Looking at the RCP statistics, if Trump holds 23% favorable, then 77% are not supporting Trump. Importantly, it is not a surprise that remaining 15 republican candidates cannot garner a significant percentage. Simply dividing the remaining 77% by 15 yields an average of about 5%. If one factors in the +3%|-3% sampling Margin of Error, (MOE) the “statistical average” is similar to 8%, adding in the sampling margin of error.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ What does the Margin of Error really mean. Lets look at the NBC/WSJ polling through 7/30, TRUMP leads with 19%, Walker at 15% and Bush at 14%. If one applies the MOE to these statistics, Trump could be 19%-3%=16%, Walker at 15%+3%=18%, and Bush at 14%+3%=17%. Therefore, anyone familiar with interpreting statistics that involve a sampling margin of error, these 3 Candidates are all Statistically Tied.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ The Media is looking for Startling Headlines, so they run the story “Trump is Surging.” IMHO the Media is creating the TRUMP statistics, as that’s what they want to cover.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Here’s what I think about the Trump Factor. Twenty Percent of the voters are angry and what the politicians out. Trump is appealing to this sentiment and is garnering their poll call. Add to this factor that the Media is almost exclusively covering Trump, which is creating a “self fulfilling prophecy”.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Media Coverage of Presidential Candidates. When the media covers the another Presidential candidates, the Media interviewers are asking what they think about Trump and his bombastic remarks, rather than what these Candidates think about their issue positions. Eventually, the Media will calm themselves, as Trump’s stats will eventually plateau.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ What do You Think ?

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Real Clear Politics on-line publishes the most current Polling Preferences for all Presidential Candidates, past and present, with an excellent and comprehensive archive of data.


β˜… FOX News Methodology: (For Example) All results are for release after 6:00 P.M. ET Monday, August 3, 2015. The Fox News Poll is conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R). The poll was conducted by telephone with live interviewers July 30-August 2, 2015 among a random national sample of 1,306 registered voters (RV).

β˜… FOX Polling Results is based on the full sample have a margin of sampling error of +/-3% {plus or minus three percentage points}. Landline and cell phone telephone numbers were randomly selected for inclusion in the survey using a probability proportionate to size method, which means that phone numbers for each state are proportional to the number of voters in each state.
Results are of registered voters, unless otherwise noted.

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