Wednesday, February 27, 2008


According to CNN, the latest polls have McCain as the next President of the United States.

If I remember correctly from my statistics course, polls really aren't that accurate. If only 100 people are polled, and 46% (i.e., 46 people) say they would vote for John McCain versus 44% (i.e., 44 people) say they would vote for Barack Obama; then what about the other gazillion eligible voters not polled? The fact is, CNN does not provide the data (i.e., number of people polled, ages, ethnic backgrounds, political affiliation, conservative/liberal label) behind the polls. Did they poll the entire country? Did they poll a majority Republican versus Democrat area? Were the people polled liberals or conservatives, whites or blacks or Latinos? I guess only CNN knows, and they're not freely sharing the information.

In the end, polls are only as accurate as the people being polled, and as truthful as those same people. Another thing I remember from statistics class, sometimes people lie when being polled for fear of the information (whether as simple as a political election or as complex as did you cheat on your spouse) being used against them. Then again, there was always that famous political poll from years ago when the people doing the polling made up the answers. I'm just saying . . .