How much faith do you put in polls?
May 24th, 2012
04:36 PM ET

How much faith do you put in polls?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With more than five months to go before election day, there's one thing you can count on: the polls.

There will be polls. Lots and lots of polls.

Some of us in the media tend to hyperventilate about the latest polls, their significance, and what we can read into them. but it's worth remembering that sometimes, they're just numbers.

The Los Angeles Times has a smart piece that lays out some rules on how to be smart about the polls.

For starters, don't forget the limits of national polls.

While presidential elections are fought out state-by-state in the electoral college, most polls are nationwide. It's too expensive to keep polling all the battleground states individually.

So while national polls can be helpful, they may hide important changes at the state level.

Next up: don't obsess about small shifts in the horse-race numbers.

Small bounces in the polls for Pres. obama or Mitt Romney from week-to-week are likely a result of natural changes in the statistical sample. Instead - pay attention to what issues are moving voters.

Another hint: be skeptical of apparent big swings. They usually don't happen in the general election.

Also: don't mix apples and oranges.

Every polling organization does things a little bit differently, which could explain significant "shifts" in surveys done by different pollsters in the same state.

Lastly, this Los Angeles piece suggests it's wise not to set out looking for a poll that supports what you already think, "as the saying goes, some people use data the way a drunk uses a lamppost - for support rather than illumination."

Here’s my question to you: How much faith do you put in polls?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Posted by
Filed under: 2012 Election • Polls
soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. Steve, Clifton, Virginia

    Now come on Jack...A Poll to measure the faith in Polls? Obviously, I don't have as much faith in polls as you do:-)

    May 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  2. Steve, Clifton, Virginia

    Let's do a poll to see how many people participate and have faith in your poll today.

    May 24, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  3. Susan-NJ

    In the Preisdential Campaign of '80 the polls predicted Carter would win. We know how that came out. Considering Carter's stand on abortion which even his mother opposed I guess that mistake was for the best.

    May 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  4. John from Alabama

    Jack: One poll shows me very little, but if 7 major polls all give a picture of the same issue then its is a good indicator of things measured. Polls can show what a certain group thinks about a candidate or a issue. One can not run their campaign on polls alone, but polls can tell a candidate, if the message is getting out. Polls can tell a candidate where he needs to work harder for votes.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  5. Julia, Fayetteville, NC

    I put as much faith in polls as I do in the Electoral College and our top court saying corporations et cetera et cetera can give as much money to politicians as they want to. Polls are fixed; the Electoral College is fixed; and money fixes our elections.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  6. Doug Ericson

    If you go by the recent past primaries results, pre voting day polls have been on the money in some cases, and poor indicaters in other cases, like in some of the Southern States that Rick Santorum won. As for opinion polls in general, I would expect you would get the same range of results. There are so many variables from the people conducting the polls to the people that answer them. The only poll I look for on voting day is my fishing pole. I have had enough of these politician crooks, and I don't believe there is a single honest one among them. I also don't believe there is any difference between the two parties at this point. Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, Dan Issa, Joe Liberman, Harry Reid, Dennis Kucinivich, Bernie Sanders, George Bush, Patrick Leahy, Dick Cheney. These are our Thomas Jefferson's and Abraham Lincoln's? Doug, Pepperell, MA.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  7. Venetia

    Polls are interesting for comparisons from one time period to another; but when they don't use equivalent data each time, they become worthless.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  8. Boomer in Mo

    Since one form of recreation I am still able to afford is lying to political pollsters, I'd say I would not have much trust at all because I think lots of people lie as a form of amusement. Hey, when you've given up movies, eating out, plays, vacations, etc. lying to political operatives is about all the fun you can afford.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  9. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: Not much--it is just a snapshot of "emotions" at a point in time--what really matters is the "final tally" of the election--and even that can be stolen.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  10. Richard Texas

    I think polls show a specific slice in time the opinions and mind set of those taking the poll. I don't think they are necessarily accurate or precise. People being polled are not casting their vote for real and they stand to lose nothing either way they answer. Usually when I am stopped in the Mall and asked to take a poll I could careless about the poll and just want to escape the pollster as quickly as possible and get on with my shopping. When it comes to the actual election and my decision will help to decide the future of America i tend to be more pragmatic.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  11. margie,oklahoma

    none jack.polling companies can move them any way they want and no one would be the wiser so vote for the person you think has the best qualities to run this country.do not vote by polling.pay attention to the facts and do your own reshearch and don't listen to the media either they always seem to exsagerate what these polls mean.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  12. jimmy in greenville nc

    Jack, I have less faith in the polls than I do in the candidates.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  13. Steve

    I hate to say it but a lot. So I'll go this far...who ever is ahead after Labor Day will win, I hear that's almost always been the case.


    May 24, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  14. NurseLisa in CT

    their importance is about 50/50, plus or minus 25%.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  15. Ivan, Marion,Ohio

    Very little,if any at all.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  16. rousch15

    My faith in any poll is based on the time frame and how the question is phrased because many polls are biased in their presentation, as well as who is funding the poll, who is presenting the poll, and who is answering the poll.

    In the case of presidential polls, I see shifts in attitudes from "independents" because they really have no clue who they are going to support, much less how the political system works. They just put their finger to the wind and answer based on how they feel on any particular day.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  17. Bill of New Mexico

    Like a weather report, polls are better than guessing.

    Really, polls are fairly accurate.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  18. Jayne in NH

    I don't pay much attention to polls. Being in a "swing" state, we're bombarded by polling calls. I recognize their names and numbers on my caller I.D. and never bother picking up. Between people like me and cell phone users, you have to wonder who is being polled.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  19. Ron WPAFB

    Since I've never been polled, none of my colleagues have never been polled, I don't have any faith in them. Then there is the poorly constructed questions, the two years before an election, and especially when the parties haven't even had their respective conventions. The candidates don't even take them seriously! They are a waste of time! The only poll that matters is on the second Tuesday in November! They are just News Anchor fodder/time fill, completely meaningless except to newsies.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  20. Jenna Roseville CA

    How much faith do you put in polls?


    Doesn't it depend on how the poll question(s) are framed, who is polling and who is polled?

    I think the best polls are those where we contact the pollster and are only allowed to vote once.

    CNN use to have a such a poll on their News cover page and it suddenly disappeared guess our opinions no longer mattered.

    Roseville CA

    May 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  21. Grumpy Ol'Phart

    Let me see....when I fired my broker...he became a weatherman...when that didn't work out he became a pollster...Hmmm...do you see a pattern here?

    May 24, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  22. ken from connecticut

    I don't put any faith in the polls, but there fun to look at. Polls are used by the media mostly for political purposes, entertainment and to create a story, amoung other things. Polls are used to manipulate the truth of a matter. I like looking at polls to get a sense of what is going on. Maybe the range of error should be alot more. Also I do think that some news stations at times, do their very best, with the knowledge they have to do an accurate poll, to come up with data which really does reflect the true nature of the question being posed. But I do always question their accuracy.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  23. Gary in San Jose, California

    Polls have gotten a little silly. The latest silliness suggested that Obama was doing well with cell phone owners while Romney was gaining ground with land line owners. What about the pygmy goat shepards? Where do they stand?

    May 24, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  24. Martha Brooks

    I am always a little suspicious of polls. They never ask me MY opinion! I mean, who do they "poll," anyway? Folks that work in their building? Their buddies at their local pub? Inquiring minds want to know.

    Martha, Rew, PA

    May 24, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  25. cathy in illinois

    Not much- first and formost, it is still too early to tell which way the country will go- Secondly, I for one have not firgured out where they get these people to ask them how they will vote-(mainly since I've never been asked) and thirdly, who cares?

    May 24, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  26. Ken in Pinon Hills, California

    IThe public probably learns most current events on on TV. Cable TV news brings us heavily weighted and party biased information. I just read about a survey about a cable network whose viewer's are poorly informed. Anyway they look and sound like a SUPER PAC in disguise.
    It is better to ignore the polling, it is Garbage in and garbage out.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  27. ken, atlantic city, nj

    Polls are pretty accurate which means they do a disservice to democracy. Why bother to vote is you know who will win. Talking heads and 24 hr cable news has completely destroyed the election process with their one sided bias and propaganda. How about doing a hypothetical poll and ask the voters if they would elect a man who promised to increase the federal debt another 5 Trillion dollars, increase credit card interest rates 5%, jail americam citizens indefinetly, assassinate american citizens, increase unemployment from 6% to 9%, increase gasoline prices from 1.89 a gallon to 4.00 per gallon, no jobs for 50% of new college grads, spend 12 billion a month bombing and assassinating people in other countries, increase bank fees and profits, increase bonuses for all street execs, extend the bush tax cuts, do nothing to regulate hedge funds managers, do nothing to regulate the 600 Trillion dollar speculation market, do nothing about high drug prices, do nothing about high health care costs, do nothing about high college tuition costs, and spend more money on defense.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  28. David, in hot and sunny Tampa

    About as much faith that a politician, any politician, will ever tell the true about anything especially in an election year. This week one result, next week something else. At best a poll is a snapshot of the moment not a prophesy. Things evolve and poll results seek to monitor that change. Dewey Elected President is the best example of why I have no faith in polls or politicians for that matter.

    May 24, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  29. Bobby E.Lahmon

    None what so ever I think they're nothing more than clip hangers to keep all the political junkies stimulated until election day nothing more nothing less they remind me a lot of those teasers on casino slot machines

    May 24, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  30. Frank Poynton from Los Angeles

    No faith what so ever Jack. It seems that every day there are several new and updated polls showing this, that, or another yada, yada, yada, based on even more yada, yada, yada. I'm sorry but in my opinion polls have become nothing more than well dressed hookers with credentials. The media with all its wisdom continues to pump out the hot air results as if they are significant and meaningful. It saddens me to think that voters are swayed by poll results and take that into the voting booth with them. I'm waiting for a poll which shows that 99% of voters are just as sick and tired of these polls as I am and then I'll take an interest.

    May 24, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  31. al in Delaware

    Not a whole lot. One poll will say one thing, and the very next week another poll will say the complete 180 degree opposite. I don't think people are changing their minds back and forth every week. Cable News drives much of this stuff for ratings.

    May 24, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  32. Pete in Florida

    One poll? No faith at all. But a lot of ongoing polls? Quite a bit of faith, they're pretty good at tracking trends.

    May 24, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  33. Jim, Denver CO

    Twenty years ago I had some faith, but in todays caustic and heavily biased conditions I don't anymore. Most polls today are done by some 'research' group that has either philisophical or financial ties to one side or the other. There is no 'objective' opinion or reporting in todays corporate controlled media. W.R. Hearst is smiling in his grave!

    May 24, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  34. Scott

    These polls are bouncing back and forth, so I am just assuming that this race will go down to the wire. I'll just try to weed out the obviously slanted polls (like the ones from Daily Kos or Newsmax) and keep an eye out for obvious trends. But I'm not expecting either of these guys to pull away.

    May 24, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  35. Chris from Florida

    I place no fiath in polls. The party that pays for them ensures that the questions are designed to produce a limit on the way answers are provided and interpreted. I also think polls are used to enhance ratings at the networks, and the way they are interpreted is designed to prodice controversy. I vote on the issues, and policy options, not on what other people think .

    May 24, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  36. itsmeagain

    Hardly any faith at all, Jack. Looks like a person could make up poll figures to
    suit themselves, and who's to say they're not? I wonder who they ask, because they never ask ME!!!!

    May 24, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  37. James - Alexandria, VA

    No because the polls are just answers from a selected few and then put out kind of like what CNN does. They are not accurate and judgement day will come for the GOP in November.....it is not a good thing to attack the middle class, women's rights, unions, minorities.....etc etc etc......and they had better learn quickly.

    May 24, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  38. Dan in Aluquerque

    Jack, not much in any short period of time. Various creditable polls over a period of several months...maybe. It depends on the questions and how they are asked, and who is the polling organization working for?

    May 24, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  39. jk in MN

    None. I won't answer a polster when they call.

    May 24, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  40. pureaddiction

    I struggle with the ability of the polster to be unbias. Everyone has an opinion. People want to be on the winning team and it's important for the public to know their candidate is on top in the polls. It makes them feel "included" in mainstream America.. Any poll can be manipulated to achieve the desired outcome in a race that is basically 50/50.

    May 24, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  41. Dave, Orlando, FL

    Absolutely none. Polls are all flawed in three ways; First, a polling company can elicit any answer it wants by phrasing the question to tailor the desired response; second, the person answering the questions will either give the answer they think the poll taker wants to hear, or will give the politically correct answer, and third, any poll is nothing more than a momentary snapshot which can change dramatically in the next hour. They are as reliable as the helium in a popped balloon.

    May 24, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  42. Mark in Topeka

    Polling reminds me of the stock market-sentiments swing based on today's news. So, timing of polling is a critical issue. In addition, the large number of independent voters combined with the degree of discontent in the electorate makes polling results less credible. So much depends on who actually turns out to vote. It would be very interesting to see how elections would change if everyone voted. Those who show up get to decide.

    May 24, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  43. pat in michigan

    About the same amount I have in our Government ..Zero. The game is Lying and shading the truth, and all sides are good at it.

    May 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  44. Rich in Gainesville FL

    I have more faith in the polls than I do in the politicians who watch them.

    May 24, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  45. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    None Jack. These things are a joke but it gives the political pundits something to talk about just like Congress talks about anything other than changing things for the better of our country. Have a good and safe holiday weekend; See ya Tuesday.

    May 24, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  46. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    I really don't care or pay attention to what the polls thinks or says. To me it is what my mind and heart that tells me who to vote for. I only pay attention to polls if I want to make a bet on a sporting event. So I really do not care if I am in the majority or the minority in a poll, it will not sway my vote one way or the other.

    May 24, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  47. clephas

    I don't think that many thinking human beings consider polls run by the media to be reliable. No offense meant. Simply put, you are only getting results from those people who are interested enough to respond... which tends to bring in skewed results.

    May 24, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  48. Michael Bindner, Alexandria VA

    It depends on who is conducting them or paying for them and whether they are made for broadcast or campaign decision-making. Generally, Rasmussen is unreliable. Mostly, reliability is about reporting. Some news organizations report results that make the race look closer than it is – for example, reporting Registered Voters or Eligible Voters rather than Likely Voters. Also, how you define likely voters can be debated. If likely Latino voters in Texas are undercounted, for example, it may look like Romney has a chance there. A poll where Romney can't even win Texas will never be broadcast, because it kills the horse race.

    May 24, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  49. pureaddiction

    Bryan from Brentwood TN....
    It's important for a candidate to be on top in the polls. Peole want to be on the side of mainstream America. It makes them feel warm and fuzzy and included in their world. Everyone has an opinion. There are few true independants. Therefore, I struggle with trusting the unbias of the poll. Even minor profiling in a basically 50/50 race can achieve the desired results.

    May 24, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  50. Paul From Round Rock, Texas

    In Poland I would be concerned but in the U.S. polls mean little when it gets down to the facts and who people really want. Polls mean little.

    May 24, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  51. Jeff in E. Lyme, CT

    Not much Jack. Most of those polled these days are old folks like you & me because young people don't have land lines anymore....or the patience in their busy lives to answer all those misleading questions.........or maybe they can't afford the minutes anymore. As far as exit polls go, I'm pretty much convinced by the disparity of EP's vs. results that many e-voting machines are accidentally or intentionally erroneous. The old mechanical machines worked fine for generations and couldn't be hacked. Who got rid of them? Oh right, the GOP.

    May 24, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  52. Thinkforyourself, OK

    ZERO I believe that most of our media has become an Arm of the Socialist State. I don't trust any of them.

    May 24, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  53. gg canada

    pols are good for the delivery of hydro and cable and street lamps

    May 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  54. Hoosier Hillbilly IN

    if Jack reads your answer on air.
    If i'm gona help him earn his liv'n i want a peice of the action
    Let's take a pole!

    May 24, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  55. calaurore9

    The only polls that are somewhat accurate are exit polls.

    Carol in Ma.

    May 24, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  56. Dan from Stewartstown PA

    Every time I hear pundits analyzing polls (which are nothing more than political statistics), I'm reminded of the wise words of Mark Twain. There are 3 types of lies: Lies; Damn Lies; and Statistics.

    May 24, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  57. Ed from California


    May 24, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  58. Phyllis G. Williams

    How much faith do you put in polls?

    Faith is Forsaking All I Trust Him.
    Polls are like prophesying, sometimes false, sometimes true.

    May 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  59. Gary H. Boyd

    Depends upon who's conducting the poll Jack. If it's CNN or MSNBC the Democrats win. If it's FOX, the Republicans win. The same with radio, newspapers and magazines - they've all taken sides and therein lies the rub. Slanted polls give slanted results. My money's on the Easter Bunny, tooth fairy and Santa Claus.

    Gary H. Boyd in Scottsdale, Arizona

    May 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  60. Brando

    Polls: None. For me, it's all about Rove's and Carville's take.

    May 24, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  61. Pete in Georgia

    Is there a number representing less than ZERO ??
    Look, whenever some liberal news organization like NBC or CBS does a poll involving the annointed one...............Obama, they poll kids in Ivy League schools or sidewalk pedestrians in Manhattan NYC. They wouldn't know where to find Nebraska or Iowa on a map to poll authentic working class rural Americans. It would be as foreign as Ethiopa to them.

    May 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  62. Mary Jane from Florida

    It depends on the group doing the polling. No offense Jack but when it comes to a poll done by MSM, I take the results with a five pound bag of salt. After all, I can simply change the channel to see a contradictory poll. When these polls are independently done by some of the most respected polling companies in the world though, like Gallup, I would put far more trust in the results.

    May 24, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  63. Hugh New Jersey

    Polls are scientific. They utilize the disciplines of math, probability, statistics–you need an advanced degree to work for the polling organizations. Polls are expensive. Campaigns would rather spend money on advertising, but they invest a large amount into polls. Polls are accurate, the polling organizations would have been out of business a long time ago if they were not. The 2000 election is a prime example. The polls all said it would be a push, and it was. Took them till December to get it all sorted out. Someone bad mouthing polls always mentions the Truman Dewey '48 election. Ask them to name one since then. They usually cannot.

    May 24, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  64. Lucas In Austin


    Right now the polls mean nothing. A thousand things could happen between now and the election. In October however they will be a lot more interesting.

    May 24, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  65. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    When President Obama is up in the polls, I have a lot of faith that the polls got it right. But when his poll numbers drop I justify it by saying nobody polled me when the fact of the matter is I wasn't polled when his numbers were up.

    May 24, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  66. Cres from Florida

    Not much! If you have the sense of your own convictions and can think for yourself,
    rather than being unduly influenced by polls, you don't pay much attention to them.

    May 24, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  67. AB

    Jack, I take opinion polls with a grain of salt. Polls are just snapshots of the public mood at different points in time and the public mood can change at different points in time. It would be unwise to invest a great deal of faith in polls and equally unwise to totally dismiss polls all together and see them as not being factually significant. Polls can reflect one set of opinions on a particular issue today and another set of opinions on the same issue tomorrow or six months down the road. The ultimate poll that has the greatest factual significance is the one on election day.

    May 24, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  68. Bruce Larson*Moore

    WHEN the banks fail & global economy collapses, OUR-REPRESENTATIVE-GOVERNMENT will be – Studying the Situation, Reading Polls & Considering Policy to prevent it... SOLUTION = iDC + Individual Directed Capitalization.

    May 24, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  69. Gigi Oregon

    None...polls feed propganda by each cable news political backing. Nor do political ads do that much convincing. We know they all have a ounce of truth and little substance. All that money being thrown away could have been given to bring down the 2000-08 war debt and lowered our national debt. And given some Capitalist a pat on the back.

    May 24, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  70. Sandstone

    "Every Poll has a bias, even Ron is a little more conservative, but who cares? Should it mean we get cross (X) with the wrong one?"

    May 24, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  71. DT - Saint Paul, MN

    Putting faith in the accuracy of polls doesn't mean I give credence to the content. I form my own opinion through research, not news. If more people did the same, the numbers wouldn't jump at all. We need to pick our leaders a lot more seriously than taking the one "leading in the polls", or just someone who has enough money to be on TV.

    May 24, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  72. Larry in Houston

    How much faith do you put in polls ? Good Question, Jack.
    As long as you constantly keep taking those Polls – and keeping them "up-dated" then the so called "Polls" will be fairly accurate, period.
    You've got a Democrat running against a Moderate, is pretty much what it is, Jack. Then – for months and months and months, Romney couldn't get higher than in the 25 – 35 point range, no matter what happed, or Who Endorsed him. I mean, he had everybody in this country that was a conservative, endorsing him, and he couldn't get over the "hump" so to speak. NOW – he's only running a few points one way or another, against an incumbent. I think when November gets Closer, you will see more people get more interested in politics, and you will see the polls change dramatically. (unfortunately, it will be in Romney's favor, in my opinion)
    I'm sure people like Hillary & Oprah and a lot of other high profile people will Vote for Obama, but you don't see them on the news making a million dollar contribution, like Bill Maher did. As far as I'm concerned, I will give him my vote, but I'm not spending my hard earned money for ANY Election contributions. Obama will have to be on his Own, I guess. Here's the Bottom Line Jack – If Obama expects to Defeat Romney – he's going to HAVE To rely on the 18 – 35 year olds, period. IF they don't support him, Obama's SUNK !!
    Democrat – 2012

    May 24, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  73. Terry in Virginia

    Zip, nada, nothing. Long live President Dewey!

    May 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  74. Ryan D Russell

    Polls are usually right these days, although I think they are overdone and superfluous. Who really cares who is ahead in the polls from day-to-day, when the election is over five months away? Isn't there anything else going on the world worth talking about?

    May 24, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  75. lindaglenn

    Jack none!

    May 24, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  76. carrie in alabama

    That is an easy one jack, Well when my candidate is ahead in the polls , I llove 'em , when not , the polls do not mean much!

    May 24, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  77. Richp

    Polls are like Cars! They will take you for a ride, but at the end They will let you down!!

    May 24, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  78. Greg- Nashua, NH

    Polls don't show the majority of any subject just due to the response bias it provides. The only people responding to polls, especially those involving politics, are people who feel strongly about it. The majority of the population is indifferent to answering a poll, which makes for faulty results.

    May 24, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  79. PiedType

    Polls are no more reliable than the biased organizations that conduct and publicize them. I put no faith in them and, because I live in a battleground state, I wish they'd just go away. The pollsters and robocalls have already exhausted my patience.

    Susan R
    Denver, CO

    May 24, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  80. James

    Polls in general are influenced by the opinion of the pollsters. Obviously Fox News Charts show romney in the lead while msncb polls show President Obama leading. I dont put too much faith in such polls, so we´ll have to wait for state-specific polls shortly before election date.

    May 24, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  81. R.K. Sims

    I've never met any one who's taken one of these "polls". The "presentation" of these polls as presented by the "media" is that this is the concensus of the nation as a whole, which is not the fact. Polls are pointless, only to sway the weak mind of the viewers who watch slanted news media stations as such.

    May 24, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  82. Quanzale McMath

    Polls in my opinion don’t indicate the majority of the American people complete answer. Plus, there is only 25 to 30% of the country submitting.

    May 24, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  83. Hugh Walters

    lies, damn lies, and statistics. But really, i'd like to see a good example of how polls fudge the truth. Are most Americans against gay marriage? What I always hear is, "it depends on how you ask the question". Well, show me how the questions were asked and the corresponding stats so I can form my own opinion about the polls.

    May 24, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  84. Gary

    Ever since Zogby predicted that Clinton would beat Bush I, polls have been a point of interest in the political world.

    May 24, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  85. Dylan in Radford Virginia

    When we consider how neck and neck most polls are between Obama and Romney at this point in the race, I feel that one should approach their faith in polls the same way my Statistics Teacher does when he has explained many different statistical theories over these last 2 weeks in class; "Its beyond us to even try fathom why this is the result, but it is, in theory.."

    May 24, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  86. Mark Ippisch

    No confidence at all since polls never ever include the demographics of those polled.

    May 24, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  87. PokingBears

    Polls are about as useful as statistics. Any fool with a computer and a proxy can swing a poll a mile wide in any direction they choose, this however is fairly rare, what is more common is the spin put on polls before the numbers are released. How do I know these numbers are real and not just some journalist tossing out what ever they feel like to pull attention. Polls/Statistics = slight of hand. What really bothers me though, is who is voting, there are scores of people that do not vote in polls that will vote in elections. These polls only reflect the "loudest". What ever way you look at it, polls/stats should be taken with a large grain of salt. Fox polls vs CNN polls. Which is more accurate?

    May 24, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  88. C Beth Davidson


    Polls are statistics. Like scientific studies, statistics must be conducted in order to safeguard the skewing effect of outliers or data which do not address what is being measured or which confound the results. Polls can be manipulative tools to "self serve" the polltakers goal towards a certain result. In the case of a political poll, it can be erroneous when conducted to include only certain geographic, socio-economic samples. Something as simple as conducting a cellphone poll would exclude those who cannot afford such luxuries or contracts, may exclude the elderly who are uncomfortable with the technology, and may be impractical if done during work hours, where someone is forbidden to respond to calls. If a poll is conducted by Fox news, for instance, the poll will be geared toward its listeners and would be biased to the Conservative view. Unless you can gain a truely representative sample from each racial, gender based, sociao-economic, education-level, and geographic area, you will not have an accurate poll.

    May 24, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  89. Barry, Ontario

    Nil, nada, zippo, Jack. Regardless of country or election, we're vastly over-polled and political surveys are among the least reliable of tea leaf readings. I've particularly enjoyed how, when polling companies turned out to be way off, the rationalization was "there was a last minute shift." Dogs know best what to do with polls.

    May 24, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  90. Cliff Glass - East Rockaway, NY


    Polls succeed only in accentuating voter apathy, making it seem as if the election is already decided before the voting has even started. Much like the newer practice of not calling a state for a candidate until the voting places are closed, I would favor, publishing no polls, thereby making it an imperative for each candidates supporters to go out and vote.Who knows, maybe one day a majority of eligible voters will exercise their constitutional obligation.

    May 24, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  91. Jess from Arkansas

    As a mathematician I put very little faith in polls. I want to know who took this poll, what was their sampling technique, etc. I try to impart this critical thinking on my students; I would hate for a registered voter to 'give up' their vote or change their vote because of information given in a poll. As a math teacher I know the sad depths of the average American's lack of understanding when it comes to numbers, percents and math in general!

    May 24, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  92. JB, Soldotna, AK

    As i look at this poll i see that we have a very close race between a Muslim christian and a Mormon christian(both of which there is no such thing) which leaves us with absolutely no choice or differance between candidates come November. Basically we are in a fight for which apostate leader we feel is the least apostate. Now doesn't it?

    May 24, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  93. Larry Hutchins

    As John Dieffenbaker said, "Only dogs know what polls are good for.". Larry Hutchins Chatham Ontario Canada

    May 24, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  94. Kam

    It is for the candidates and their campaign staff to decide how much faith they want to put in the polls. For the rest of us polls should not affect our voting. It should be based on the candidate's position and not on what polls say. The politcians want to release polls when they are favorable to influence the voters and discount them when the polls show them behind.

    May 24, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  95. Matthew

    Polls are a joke, all they do is give undecided voters the wrong impression and they vote for who is doing better regardless of their platform, I have no faith in polls for they screw up outcomes of how elections should be

    May 24, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  96. Harry

    polls are like blog posts, If zionists at CNN and FOX dont like it, they dont use it.....watch how fast free speech is denied here....

    May 24, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  97. Gary

    Polls have been quite accurate since Zogby predicted that Bubba would defeat Poppy Bush.

    May 24, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  98. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    As about fiath as in what they say, Romney changes his mind about things about ever eight hours so you never know what his stand is on anything, if he is so great on the economy why in the hell did it hit rock bottom when the Republicans were in charge for eight years and it just went straight down. tell me the Republicans way is not the correct way.

    May 24, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  99. Remo, from beautiful downtown Pflugerville Texas

    I haven't believed a poll since "Dewey Wins"!

    May 24, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  100. Michael Devaney

    About as much faith as I have in this poll asking how much faith do you put in polls.

    May 24, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  101. Joshua

    Just as much faith as the Presidential candidates, none, just can't be trusted

    May 24, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  102. United States Navy Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Donald Eugene

    I think that even though polls are a small sampling they are helpful in getting a beat on what folks think on a wide range of issues. For me being in the military when don ask don't tell was in the process of being repealed the Navy sent a letter with survey questions to random sailors around the fleet to get a general idea of how the repeal would affect daily work environments amongst other things. I'm a proud sailor on deployment with the USS Enterprise sending this message from the North Arabian Gulf. My parents watch your show all the time hopefully they see this and know i love them and miss them very much.

    May 24, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  103. Pam, Horsham, PA

    Political polls would be helpful if anyone read them Jack. So, with that said, I think polls are a waste....just like the Politicians that should be paying attention to them. It's only 'the People" that are taking them in the first place, and its been decades since any elected Poltician has cared about 'We the People".

    May 24, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  104. Oliver El Paso, TX

    Hell just ask George Bush, Al Gore had all the poles in his fever he won the popular veto, but lost the supreme court and Bush won the electrio college. I do not believe in poll because the poll taker can change to his liking.

    May 24, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  105. C Beth Davidson

    That is...the choice to vote based on your own conscience rather than the predominant local one...

    May 24, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  106. Michael in Albuquerque, NM

    Who still has landlines to answer calls from polls. Old luddite republicans, that's who. I have no faith in polls that are base on their responses. I will look at the numbers that show up at speeches by the candidates.

    May 24, 2012 at 5:51 pm |