In the heat of election season and the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, there has been increased attention surrounding polls. Polls determine who is in the "lead" and which candidate looks favorable among which crowd. They are essentially surveys and work to collect public opinion. It is important to know who the participants in these polls are however, and what motivates their opinion.
Shortly after the first debate on September 26th, CNN released ratings that declared Hillary the winner by a margin of 62% to 27%. This makes Hillary the overwhelming victor of the night. What the commentator expressing these statistics also lets us know is that the voting pool was 41% Democratic and 26% Republican. This is 10 points more Democratic and 2 points less Republican than the typical national telephone poll, skewing the results.
When you look at online Polls, Trump is the clear winner. An online poll from CNBC has Trump winning by a landslide of 67% to 33% and a TIME poll also places Trump above Hillary at 55% to 45%. Over one million people participated in both of these polls, but Fortune informs us that "Many online polls are labeled with caveats, warning readers that they are not scientific surveys; nor do they accurately represent the American electorate". Basically, these results are also very skewed.
Despite this fact, Trump proceeded to tweet the results as they came in, claiming "Such a great honor. Final debate polls are in - and the MOVEMENT wins! #AmericaFirst #MAGA #ImWithYou http://www.DonaldJTrump.com". He proceeded to tweet the following...
Be mindful of the media and the information that you consume. Understand the different biases and incentives at work. Be critical, and most importantly, use your own mind to come to your own conclusions. Search for the facts, and put your trust in something that can be proven. The truth is not always in the polls.