Polls, “polls,” and amazing ignorance

Does Donald Trump actually believe his own BS?  Is he dumb enough to believe than an on-line poll anybody can opt into multiple times tells us more than a random sample?  I’m pretty sure I know the answer to that question.  Here’s Trump’s tweet:

And here’s the reality from polls that are conducted scientifically:

Honestly, we need another word for the type of “polls” that Trump is using.  But, he just knows they are right.  TPM:

“I’ll tell you what, we had the debate the other night, and every single online poll had me winning, by sometimes a landslide. And then you go on television, and these are Time Magazine, Drudge,” Trump said, referring to two websites which hosted online polls inviting readers to react to the debate. “And I’m winning by massive margins in many cases. One was 80 percent to 20 percent!”

Such polls don’t draw data from randomized phone numbers and internet users, as more trustworthy pollsters do, and are susceptible to “brigading,” or the concerted efforts by small groups of self-selected respondents to tilt them disproportionally in favor of one option.

“And I’m winning all these polls — how many were there, seven or eight or nine? Hundreds of thousands of votes,” Trump said, “and then I have to sit back, and you have to sit back, and hear about how those polls don’t mean anything, but when they poll 300 people, that means a lot, right?” [emphasis mine]

Do I think Trump really is dumb enough to not understand the difference between self-selection and random samples?  Yes.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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