Attitude Check

Poll: How much do you like or trust public opinion polling?

Marketplace Contributor Oct 4, 2012
HTML EMBED:
COPY
Attitude Check

Poll: How much do you like or trust public opinion polling?

Marketplace Contributor Oct 4, 2012
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Never mind the policy specifics and positions on the issues enumerated in last night’s debate. What matters, as we all know by now, is who won.

While the campaigns and political watchers fixate on how big Gov. Mitt Romney’s debate bounce will be, here at Marketplace World Headquarters, we don’t care about any of that stuff. Instead, we look closer at the polls themselves and how to think about them.

Frank Newport is the editor in chief at Gallup. He has a bone to pick with critics who say that polls aren’t accurate predictors of voter behavior.

“So far this election throughout the primary season, the polls have actually been quite accurate,” said Newport. “If they said Mitt Romney was going to win a primary, he in fact did win the primary. And if they said Rick Santorum was going to win, he did win as well.”

And you might not be surprised to learn, pollsters have asked participants the meta-question: What they think about polls.

“People actually like polls,” Newport said. “Americans have more confidence in the wisdom of Americans than in their elected leaders.”

That makes polling critical in Newport’s view. “The only way you can pay attention to Americans is to poll them, because there are so many of us.”


As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.