Paying attention to the polls

As the upcoming presidential election approaches, should people be paying attention to the polls?


JJ Huish

The polls are one way people stay informed with the predictions of the upcoming election.

Every election year, people in America are paying attention to the polls. The polls are what show which candidates are the most popular and which ones are predicted to win the election. 

After the night of the 2016 election, Donald Trump stunned everyone by winning the election over Hillary Clinton who was predicted to win. Since Trump ended up winning even though he was not the projected winner, people have since questioned the polls, and the pollsters have tried to increase the accuracy of their polls.

Though most of the polls had it wrong with Hillary Clinton as the predicted winner, all of them got one thing right– Hillary won the popular vote. This is different from the electoral college which Trump won and what wins the president the election. 

One factor contributing to the misleading polls in 2016 was that certain states were not polled. States such as Pennsylvania and Ohio, who have voted democratic consistently in past elections, surprisingly voted red in 2016. 

Another possibility contributing to the inaccuracy of polls is the “Shy Trumper Effect”,  or the “Silent Majority”.  Since most Americans are less likely to voice their vote for Trump, it is possible that many of the people the pollsters asked were not truthful. 

Now the question in 2020 is whether the polls have improved, and the answer to that is yes. Since the 2016 election, pollsters have been extra careful with data collection and have made adjustments to make sure their polling data is as accurate as possible.

It’s important to dispel the notion that polling writ large is broken – our investigation found that not to be the case,” the Pew Research Center’s director of survey research Courtney Kennedy said in a public statement. “There were errors, and the polling industry has taken a reputational hit. But the polling community and poll consumers should take some comfort in the fact that we’ve figured out quite a bit about what went wrong and why, and we all can learn from those errors.”

When a new president is elected it has a huge impact on the country. Although it may not seem important to underage students at Granite Bay High School, the president who is elected now can change how we will be living in the future.

I believe that as a citizen of America, it is a responsibility to be aware of the polls

— Taylor Flynn

“I believe that as a citizen of America, it is a responsibility to be aware of the polls,” sophomore Taylor Flynn said. “The president is a super important piece of our country and everyone should be aware of who has the best chance to take office.”

On the other hand, sophomore Sam Fischer believes otherwise.

” I don’t pay attention to the polls because it causes contention,” Fisher said. “I also am not old enough to vote and I do not know enough about the candidates to care.”

Despite this, sophomore Carly Foster argues that regardless of whether a student is of voting age or not, it is important to stay informed.

“Even though (some) students at Granite Bay cannot vote yet, it is necessary … to be aware of public opinion and to know what is happening in our country,” Foster said.