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It is nice to point out that pollsters get graded by their ability to accurately make predictions with their LAST poll.  From the moment that they start polling (2 years ago) until this point, they can pretty much get away with predicting anything.  They can be chastised for being an outlier, but generally the numbers that they publish can not be proven to be inaccurate.

The pollsters themselves are most interested in themselves of course.  The election is the only time where they themselves have incentive to be as accurate as possible.  

Nobody is going to compare the election results to Rasmussen's or PPP's or Gallup's numbers published in July.  

An unscrupulous pollster could conceivably make up numbers all season long, with the intention of driving the narrative.  However, the last set of numbers will be used to measure their own accuracy so all pollsters have an interest in being accurate at this point.  It will be interesting to notice whether any polling outfits will show dramatic shifts near the end of the campaign.

I was just reminding my friends that the incentive for the pollsters changes in an interesting way at this point in the campaign.

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Comment Preferences

  •  You make a very significant point (0+ / 0-)

    If Romney had been behind all of October, the press wouldn't be so fixated on the polls. Pollsters wouldn't make money!

    So four weeks out they are motivated to make it seem a tie, and one week in they are motivated to be as accurate as they can.

    •  I'd like to believe this but.... (0+ / 0-)

      ....if they are unscrupulous enough to try to drive a narrative then I don't trust them to change just to be correct. They are in it for the money.  If they are being paid to have an effect on the outcome, that is how their success will be measured by those that pay them or profit by their narrative. I think probably the only polls that are really accurate are the ones the campaigns use that they keep to themselves.

  •  Great business plan... sell made up results (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skod

    until the very end and then actually do a poll, a real poll using the best models and actually use real people, large sample etc... and get something very close to the final actual vote.

    expensive for just the one poll but worth it... after all, the preceding 2 years would cost no more than an office, a phone, internet connection and some computer time... and maybe a live person to answer the company main (and only actual) phone.. an older relative who lives with you?

    So bank the rest of the money from the bogus polls you published/sold after shuffling it through a web of shell companies who exist to seem to do work for you and then all that is needed is just spend some of the interest from the polling income on the final real poll...

    And laugh all the way back to the bank for the next two years... (and next time get a billionaire to "invest" in your company... if they did not already set you up in the first place.)

    Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

    by IreGyre on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 08:19:37 AM PDT

    •  It's probably much more subtle (0+ / 0-)

      I can't imagine that it doesn't occur to the political operatives to "send some business" to those pollsters that are best at driving the narative.

      •  yes the real tweaks and inducements are (0+ / 0-)

        more subtle as you say... whether cozening newer outfits or helping set them up or effectively nudging Gallop etc in the direction you prefer and always... indirect business sweeteners as incentives... but getting more brazen and direct with each new campaign season.

        So imagine pollsters getting away with being more and more panderers to their customers... without the media saying anything or of course being in on the evolving scam or reality tweaking... eventually a real world tragi-comedy like my mostly joking scenario outlined... and actually one of the extreme GOP pollsters this year does almost begin to resemble that business model... (Gravis as I recall...)

        Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

        by IreGyre on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 10:12:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Spot on! (0+ / 0-)

    Follow the money: I truly believe that these guys, and the media in general, only care about riding the gravy train until the last possible second. Fraugh.

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