Pollsters like to remind us as to how accurate they are. If they were half as good as they say, we could avoid the whole election craziness; the pollsters would tell us the week before the first primary or caucus who the ultimate winner was going to be and we could just get on with our lives.
I took multiple statistics and associated classes in college, so I have at least a basic understanding of sample size, margin of error, and scientific wild-ass guesses. In the first place, I challenge their statistical sample because it doesn’t include people who match my demographic. Why? Because people like me refuse to talk to pollsters; we do not answer any telephone call that doesn’t come from a known number. However, I do vote in every election.
Next, someone or some organization is paying for these pollsters. In the event of murky data, whose side so you think a polling company will lean toward?
Finally, let’s be honest—predicting the future is not just tough, it’s pretty much impossible. Look at meteorologists. They tell me that what makes it such a great job is that if they’re right 30% of the time, they’re considered a genius.
Case in point—last weekend, as Hurricane Matthew headed east, out into the Atlantic Ocean, the meteorologists predicted my area would get about two inches of rain. Remember—the National Weather Service has sensors all over the country. They launch weather balloons to check the weather at higher altitudes. They have radar, Doppler radar, and whatever is the newest whiz-bang technology. They have satellites with cameras, infrared detectors, and Ouija Boards. They have weather spotters on the ground. They have computer models. Besides the meteorologists at the National Weather Service, every television station has a platoon of their own meteorologists.
How did my two inches of rain turn out? Try 10.86 inches of rain and tropical force winds that knocked down trees and power lines accompanied by flooding.