Fake Polls | Analytical Ones

Learn more about analytics and research best practices, as well as real world examples and solutions for nonprofits.

RECENT POSTS

Nov 4, 2020

Fake Polls

Polling is getting a lot of attention today. Bad attention.

This is the second election cycle in a row where the polls were pointing towards a solid win for the Democratic Presidential candidate, but the actual vote went the other way.

We call the issue is called Sampling Bias: meaning, the people who participated in the survey don’t accurately reflect the population the poll is supposed to be studying.

Now, the (former) Gold Standard of polling forecasts, Nate Silver’s 538, will tell you that all the results are within the poll’s margin of error. And while the results were super close, I don’t agree with him.

Take a look at this PDF of 538’s final forecast compared with the current results (as of the afternoon of November 4th).If it were merely sampling error, we would see the error go both ways. It is not doing that. The error is consistently under projecting support for President Trump. Sometimes by a lot.

538 pdf

This means that the polls have a serious methodological problem.

As a survey researcher, this is deeply troubling – it means whatever weighting “fixes” pollsters like 538 applied to mitigate the 2016 errors simply did not work. It is also troubling because it further erodes confidence in any survey research findings. Now, whatever the result end up being in this exceptionally tight election, the real loser is polling sciences.

Mid year fundraising check up

For many organizations, the year of the pandemic was a banner year for fundraising – in uncertain times of great need donors gave generously. Of course, we’d expect your faithful donors to respond. That’s what they do. What was less expected was the huge number of new...

read more

Are You About to Lose a Client?

Saying that agency life is hectic is an understatement. There are so many details to track on a day-to-day basis, it’s no wonder that sometimes we are blindsided when a client decides to fire us. Looking back at your relationship, were there warning signs that you...

read more

The Regression to the Mean has Begun

A year ago, all of us in the business of fundraising were nervous. Lockdowns were taking place across the world, there were shortages of toilet paper and no one was sure how donors would respond. No one could have predicted that donors would respond in a such an...

read more

ARCHIVES

© 2021 Analytical Ones