9.21.2008

public vow: no more polls

Because the polls are driving me crazy - because I'm allowing myself to be driven crazy by media crap I should be ignoring! - and because national opinion polls do not correspond to seat projections (see comments here) - I am hereby declaring myself poll free.

From now on I will watch seat projections on DemocraticSpace and ElectionPrediction only, and try my best to ignore the daily barrage of opinion polls based on 300 people.

If I'm able to ignore 99% of the US election, surely I can ignore this insignificant bit of the Canadian election.

That's what I tell myself, but I fear I may be addicted.

But I'm going to try.

12 comments:

Alan Gay and Straight said...

Don't turn the TV on, or the radio, or the..do polls really matter?

PeterC said...

I've noticed that there seems to be more partisan bots on the Election prediction project website this year.

I highly recommend that everyone go and post who you think will win for your riding. Not who you want to win. This will help make the prediction that much more accurate.

I've read some comments about my local riding that just make me shake my head.

L-girl said...

Don't turn the TV on, or the radio, or the..

I actually get zero news from TV or radio. I see this in the newspaper and online every day.

do polls really matter?

No. That's my point. If they mattered, I wouldn't try to stay away.

L-girl said...

I've noticed that there seems to be more partisan bots on the Election prediction project website this year.

I'm not reading any comments or posts there. Fortunately I have no interest in that.

mister anchovy said...

Wow, I had no idea those websites existed. I don't think either those sites nor polls could influence my vote. I do think that both polls and especially media positioning can have a huge effect on outcome though, and so perhaps they do matter, even if they don't matter to the way I choose to vote.

I'm worried that people are going to believe Mr. Harper is a moderate because he wears nice sweaters this time out, and because his ads imply that the western world will crumble if his opponents attain office. Unfortunately, in my experience, the way people perceive personalities often has a bigger influence on their vote than their self-interest or the interest of their communities.

L-girl said...

I do think that both polls and especially media positioning can have a huge effect on outcome though, and so perhaps they do matter

Oh yes, they do matter in that way. You're right.

When I said polls don't matter, I'm thinking in terms of my own worries and fears. In that sense, the only thing that matters is the outcome on Oct 14 (see PeterC's comment in the previous post about polls).

But yes, polls do matter in that they can influence public opinion among misinformed or underinformed voters, or even keep some marginal voters away from voting altogether.

Unfortunately, in my experience, the way people perceive personalities often has a bigger influence on their vote than their self-interest or the interest of their communities.

Very, very sad and frustrating and often true.

Mister Anchovy, I hope you'll contribute to the "why we don't want another Harper Govt" thread.

L-girl said...

I don't think either those sites nor polls could influence my vote.

Also, in case it's not obvious, I would use ElectionPrediction and DemocraticSpace for a reality check and (hopefully) to allay my fears. Not to influence my vote.

(If I could vote yet, which I can't.)

DemocraticSpace is a very good information centre.

impudent strumpet said...

I've noticed that there seems to be more partisan bots on the Election prediction project website this year

So are they predicting their own candidate? Or are they smart enough to go on predicting the candidate that is most likely to make strategic voters vote for their own candidate? I've noticed a few comments by people who clearly don't know the riding in question - like basic errors of geography - but I can't tell if they have a cohesive strategy.

I don't think either those sites nor polls could influence my vote.

They're useful in getting people to strategically vote correctly. A lot of people used to strategically vote based on national polls, so at least this get people focusing on how their vote can be of use in their own riding.

James said...

Ignoring polls isn't a bad idea. While the polling companies (except in the case of online or phone-in polls) know what they're doing, news organizations are horrible at reporting what polls actually mean.

Rule of thumb: if a news company says that A & B are in a statistical tie because the difference in their numbers is less than the margin of error, then they don't really know what they're talking about -- or else they're using misleading language for fear of confusing the public, thereby confusing the public.

L-girl said...

On their Sept 17 seat projection, DemocraticSpace showed the Cons with 150 seats and 39% of the vote.

Today, a Sept 20 update, they show the Cons with 144 seats and 27% of the vote.

This is better for my blood pressure and I'm sticking with it!

M@ said...

On the subject of polls...

This isn't a link to any polls or results, btw, but some sane questioning of those polls.

I think you're right, Laura, in just avoiding them altogether. Not easy for news junkies but definitely better for one's general health.

L-girl said...

M@, I just clicked on the link you posted from Cathie In Canada. Excellent - thank you!