In 2014 we saw political polling as a commodity in the saturated Massachusetts market. Poll proliferation has now gone national for two reasons: it helps the brands of media, polling firms,and universities; and it provides pseudo-news for a barely interested public.
My post last week Polling as a Commodity in a Saturated Market generated some interesting comments in the 140 character world of Twitter. I’d like to indulge in a few extra characters for some of the issues that arose. Important questions arose about whether anyone outside the community of political junkies even notices polls, whether polling influences or simply measures attitudes, and polling and citizen engagement.
For the past four months I have been arguing that the contest for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination between the sitting State Attorney General and State Treasurer was much closer than the pollsters would have us believe. Now that the results on Election Day seem to support my conclusion, the pollsters who saw a 40-plus point Coakley lead in the Spring and a 20 or more point lead three days before the polls opened, need to figure out where they went wrong.