NEW YORK, NY (WPIX) – Two presidential polls out on the very same day have two very different results. The NBC / Wall Street Journal poll shows the race as dead even at 47% – 47%.
The Gallup poll puts Mitt Romney way ahead with 52% of the vote to 45% for president Obama. a tie and a landslide. How is that possible?
It’s not. One of the polls is wrong. The question is which one or maybe they both are. Polling in this country actually has a pretty good track record. But, the polls have also blown some big races.
The most spectacular screw up was in 1948 when the polls were certain that republican Thomas Dewey would beat president Truman in a landslide. The papers went ahead and printed the next days headlines based on the polls, Truman won.
The problem is that candidates make decisions based on the polls. In 2000, vice president Al Gore didn’t even campaign in his home state of tennessee because the polls showed he would win their easily. He lost. Had Gore spent a little time or money in Tennessee he would be president.
We have had some more recent screw ups. In 2008 the pollsters said Barack Obama was going to win the New Hampshire primary and sew up the nomination early. Hillary won and the race dragged on.
The problem is that polls can make voters and candidates make decisions that can decide elections. If a voter or candidate thinks a race is over then they will give up and the poll can then be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
So try and ignore the polls. There is a chance they are wrong. Better yet i would love to see them do in America what they do in England. Ban polls two weeks leading up to an election.
Of course that is just my opinion And i have a 3.4 % margin of error.