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Where the Polls Went Wrong (Reagan/Carter 1980)
Time ^ | 12/1/1980 | John F. Stacks

Posted on 10/05/2008 12:44:48 PM PDT by tatown

Reagan's landslide challenges the pulse-taker profession

For weeks before the presidential election, the gurus of public opinion polling were nearly unanimous in their findings. In survey after survey, they agreed that the coming choice between President Jimmy Carter and Challenger Ronald Reagan was "too close to call." A few points at most, they said, separated the two major contenders.

But when the votes were counted, the former California Governor had defeated Carter by a margin of 51% to 41% in the popular vote—a rout for a U.S. presidential race. In the electoral college, the Reagan victory was a 10-to-l avalanche that left the President holding only six states and the District of Columbia.

After being so right for so long about presidential elections—the pollsters' findings had closely agreed with the voting results for most of the past 30 years—how could the surveys have been so wrong? The question is far more than technical. The spreading use of polls by the press and television has an important, if unmeasurable, effect on how voters perceive the candidates and the campaign, creating a kind of synergistic effect: the more a candidate rises in the polls, the more voters seem to take him seriously.

(Excerpt) Read more at time.com ...


TOPICS: Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: poll; time
Good article from 1980 regarding bad polling in the 1980 election. From the article:

"If the pollsters are united on one point, it is that they are not solely to blame for misleading the public; the fault must be shared with the press, they say, which has never fully understood the limitations of surveying.

Says Cuff Zukin, poll director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics: "We are overconsumed with predicting what will happen. Polls predicting who is going to win the election are worthless. First, they can be very inaccurate at the time of the election be cause they are only accurate at the time they are taken.

They do not predict the future." Agrees Marquette University Sociologist Wayne Youngquist: "The media want the pollsters to be seers. We want them to do more than they can."

Negative voting, large numbers of undecideds, low turnout — all these factors made polling this year more difficult. Says Caddell: "This is the first election in which the voters didn't really like either candidate much.""

1 posted on 10/05/2008 12:44:48 PM PDT by tatown
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To: tatown

And this was before cell phones. How many today have no land line?


2 posted on 10/05/2008 12:50:24 PM PDT by Need4Truth
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To: tatown

Reagan’s dead, and McCain’s No Reagan.

Until we get a handle somehow on the media & school systems, I don’t hold out much hope for the future.


3 posted on 10/05/2008 12:53:44 PM PDT by MrLee (Sha'alu Shalom Yerushalyim!! God bless Eretz Israel.)
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To: tatown

-—the fault must be shared with the press, they say, which has never fully understood the limitations of surveying.


I argue its evident the press doesn’t care rather then ‘never fully understood’.

Why beat around the bush? The story could cite 50 examples of the MSM misrepresenting poll numbers.


4 posted on 10/05/2008 12:55:25 PM PDT by Doug TX
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To: tatown

How’s this for a nightmare scenario.....

McCain refuses to slam the Democrats for Fannie-Freddie/subprime mortgages, yet he wins anyway. The media refuses to report the actual election results and says that Obama won. Obama supporters celebrate in the streets. McCain then concedes the election because he doesn’t want to appear “divisive”. He tells his supporters to put “Ccuntry First”, and promises them that he’ll reconsider drilling in ANWR when he returns to the Senate.


5 posted on 10/05/2008 12:55:43 PM PDT by The Fop (Just say NO to Jesus Lincoln King Jr.)
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To: tatown
"This is the first election in which the voters didn't really like either candidate much."

Haha. Americans loved Ronnie. Even back then the Democrats had no grasp of reality.

6 posted on 10/05/2008 12:57:18 PM PDT by Thane_Banquo ("They aren't people! They're the ACLU!" - General Patton in An American Carol)
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To: The Fop

Put the hallucinogens away.


7 posted on 10/05/2008 12:57:56 PM PDT by Hildy ("We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.")
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To: tatown
One puzzling phenomenon that the pollsters have not been able to cope with, or even explain thoroughly, is the so-called closet Reaganite. For whatever reason, people clearly voted for Reagan in this election who had said they would not.

Everett Ladd, director of the University of Connecticut's Social Science Data Center, says flatly: "I am 100% certain that there was no 'closet Reaganism' in this election." Other pollsters tend to agree. But there is some evidence that suggests otherwise. Before the election, only 7% of the blacks surveyed by New York Times-CBS News said they were going to vote for Reagan; Election Day exit polling showed that 14% had ac tually cast their ballots for the Californian. But when re-polled by New York Times-CBS News, only 6% of blacks admitted they had voted for Reagan.

Never mind the Wilder Effect. There is a Closet Republican Effect!

8 posted on 10/05/2008 1:01:51 PM PDT by 6SJ7 (Welcome PUMAs!)
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To: 6SJ7

bttt


9 posted on 10/05/2008 1:02:37 PM PDT by 1035rep
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To: MrLee

You’ll never get a handle on the Main Stream Media and the Main Stream Schools.

Conservatives will have to create alternative “parallel” institutions for both.


10 posted on 10/05/2008 1:06:09 PM PDT by GoodDay (McCain-Palin '08)
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To: tatown

Boy, do I remember this one. “Too close to call.” On election night I settled in, ready for a long night of nailbiting suspense . . . and when NBC’s election coverage signed on at 7:00 PM, John Chancellor was shocked, his face pale, as he looked into the camera and informed us that all indications were that there would be a decisive victory for (gulp) Ronald Reagan.


11 posted on 10/05/2008 1:15:31 PM PDT by Genoa
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To: MrLee

“McCain’s no Reagan.”

But Palin is.


12 posted on 10/05/2008 1:18:30 PM PDT by Genoa
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To: Genoa

I remember it the same way! On the way home from work, I heard on the car radio that the election was too close to call. Then I voted and went home to watch the results. And, guess what? Ronald Reagan won a landslide victory! What was the media thinking? What were the pollsters thinking? Were those statements honest? Or were they part of a continuing propaganda campaign to encourage one side and disspirit the other side? Since that time, I have ignored all polls, except the final poll — the election returns, themselves!


13 posted on 10/05/2008 1:37:05 PM PDT by Continental Soldier
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To: Need4Truth

I am one of them. NH will get my straight-republican ballot within the next few weeks.


14 posted on 10/05/2008 1:48:04 PM PDT by MSF BU (++)
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To: The Fop
McCain refuses to slam the Democrats for Fannie-Freddie/subprime mortgages, yet he wins anyway. The media refuses to report the actual election results and says that Obama won. Obama supporters celebrate in the streets. McCain then concedes the election because he doesn’t want to appear “divisive”. He tells his supporters to put “Ccuntry First”, and promises them that he’ll reconsider drilling in ANWR when he returns to the Senate.

If McCain did that, Sarah Palin would shoot him with her moose gun. At least I'd like to think that she would at least think about it.

15 posted on 10/05/2008 1:49:01 PM PDT by Disambiguator
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To: tatown

I have heard many times that you cannot study a system without affecting change on that same system. While that may be a gross generalization, I do believe that the more we are saturated with polls the less accurate they will become as they either cause voters to change their opinions, or affect the liklihood of a voter actually going to the polls.


16 posted on 10/05/2008 1:55:30 PM PDT by SlapHappyPappy
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To: tatown; All
MSM reporting can greatly influence the willingness of people to reveal their true feelings to pollsters. For example:

Then: Are you going to vote for the incumbent President or a washed-up grade B cowboy movie star?

Now: Are you going to vote for the hope to the world, or be a bigot and vote for an old washed-up brain dead jet jockey?

17 posted on 10/05/2008 3:21:18 PM PDT by Zakeet (Crime wouldn't pay if the government ran it)
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To: Genoa
But Palin is.

No. She isn't.

18 posted on 10/05/2008 4:30:27 PM PDT by Huck ("Lying rides upon debt's back." --Poor Richard's Almanac)
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To: Genoa

It’s one of my fond memories. I came out of the college cafeteria, glanced up at the television in the lounge, and asked myself: “Why don’t they have any results yet? The map is still almost all one color. And then I realized....”


19 posted on 10/05/2008 8:20:42 PM PDT by Mariebl
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To: Zakeet
Then: Are you going to vote for the incumbent President or a washed-up grade B cowboy movie star?

Nah, it was a washed-up grade B cowboy movie star who's going to get us into WWIII.
20 posted on 10/05/2008 8:22:09 PM PDT by Mariebl
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To: tatown

Rush talking about this one now!


21 posted on 11/03/2008 10:42:57 AM PST by truthandlife ("Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God." (Ps 20:7))
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To: tatown

Interesting. This thread was just posted prominently on BadBlue.

If you still link to Drudge, by the way, you should look at BadBlue. Drudge figured prominently in the Romney slander against Newt before the Florida primary, and now appears to be acting as a surrogate for Filth Obama.

Hank


22 posted on 09/09/2012 1:17:00 AM PDT by County Agent Hank Kimball (Myth Romney is a vile Fabian Socialist - his opponent is infinitely worse. How did it come to this?)
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To: tatown

Interesting. This thread was just posted prominently on BadBlue.

If you still link to Drudge, by the way, you should look at BadBlue. Drudge figured prominently in the Romney slander against Newt before the Florida primary, and now appears to be acting as a surrogate for Filth Obama.

Hank


23 posted on 09/09/2012 1:17:09 AM PDT by County Agent Hank Kimball (Myth Romney is a vile Fabian Socialist - his opponent is infinitely worse. How did it come to this?)
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