We Need to Go on a 'Poll-Free Political Diet'

Writing for 'WaPo,' Jennifer Rubin lays out 5 reasons why we should ignore polls ahead of 2024
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2023 9:45 AM CDT
We Need to Go on a 'Poll-Free Political Diet'
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/bizoo_n)

Jennifer Rubin has tried to stay away from "rickety" poll analyses as we inch closer to the 2024 election—a "poll-free political diet" she thinks we all should go on. Writing for the Washington Post, Rubin lays out a laundry list of reasons why, calling the polling field "broken" and the journalism behind it lacking in keeping the electorate in the know with "accurate, reliable information." Rubin notes that the polls were way off in both 2016 and 2020, as well as in the 2022 midterms, and that voters often offer "contradictory" information on how they're feeling ahead of elections. The latter suggests that voters "either don't understand the question, don't really know what they think, or respond based on tribal loyalty," Rubin writes.

She also notes how pointless it can be to hold polls way in advance of Election Day, as the political landscape is a fluid, constantly shifting one. Rubin cites a quote from Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg on this point: "At the end of the day polling is only a snapshot into a moment, and cannot predict anything. Things change all the time in politics—change is the constant." Most important, however, is the role of journalists in this mix, with Rubin noting that the usual "horse-race coverage" isn't going to do the nation much good. "When the stakes are so high, and the fate of democracy hangs in the balance, continuing to gamify politics with meaningless polls does little to improve journalists' reputation or inform voters," she writes. More from Rubin here. (Not everyone is convinced that the polls were so wrong in recent past elections.)

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