The news is filled with polling information just now. You could take it seriously or you could ignore it. Here are some aspects you might want to think about.
The current polling, (October 30) shows Hillary’s lead to be shrinking. What was once a +14% in an ABC poll is now 6%. Other polls show her well ahead, others show Trump well ahead. How can that be?
Polling is based on the idea of a sample big enough to represent the entire population. It says nothing about how any one person would vote but can say quite a lot about the totality.
There are several factors to consider:
We know that some of the polling is biased even though it professes 95% confidence and a 3% error rate. Often with large samples. How do we know that? The numbers tell us. All the polls, if unbiased, should be within the error range. If any lie outside the error range they are either the 1 in 20 that is wrong or they are biased somehow.
How would I bias a poll? There are three common methods.
Polling is statistically sound but only if the surveyors ask clear questions, the participants have been selected randomly, and the data has been objectively analyzed. In election times, polls may not be meaningful. Some are used to make people feel part of a crowd. Be cautious. You cannot tell what they mean without knowing more about them.
Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario. In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.
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