One thing Bitter and I agree on in regards to Trump is that he doesn’t give a rats ass about polling, and that it’s both refreshing and terrifying. My Congressman, Brian Fitzpatrick, a rare specimen of the endangered Republicanus Bloombergensus, I don’t think takes a shit without checking first to see how well it will poll. The problem with leadership by poll is that most polls are junk, and lobbyists pushing one issue or another are happy to put their junk polling in front o lawmakers and their staff. The one Salon is hawking to promote gun control is no exception. Looks good for the gun control folks doesn’t it? Eight percent say it’s their biggest issue! Of those four to one broke for Dems! Oh dear! I don’t want to be on the wrong side of history!
We start by mailing a postcard to a random sample of registered voters in 25 states, inviting them to take our survey either online or by phone. We also try to reach those registered voters directly by phone. At the same time, weâ€™re conducting a random-sample survey of registered voters nationwide. Finally, we survey self-identified registered voters in all 50 states using online panels, which allows us to interview a very large number of people in just a few days.
Emphasis mine. Even if your initial sampling is random, if they have to choose whether to participate, the numbers are going to be skewed over what they would be if they were truly random. In truth all polling has this flaw, which is why polling, for the most part, is bullshit. Telephone polling was a better method in the era when people answered their phones and would have felt social pressure to participate. But what’s replacing telephone polling is utter garbage. This survey has all those flaws in spades. No one should pay a lick of attention to this shit. I think an attribute of people who are politically successful after the realignment is they won’t pay any attention to polling. Polls, like candy, are the junk food of the political world.
How do you know what voters in your community think, if you’re the politician representing them? Get out there and talk to them. Get out there in the community. There’s no substitute for that. Don’t just talk to your donors. Talk to real people. Years ago, everyone knew this. Somehow, we’ve forgotten.