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  • Writer's picturemike

Public Polling Is Wrong - Stop Reporting It.

It's the day after the November election and many people are saying to themselves: "What happened? I thought Republicans were going to win in a landslide election?"

Public polling in New Hampshire and around the country took a beating yesterday and it is past time for media outlets to stop reporting these surveys because it makes them look bad and it can wreak havoc on the election process.

Let's take a quick look at the two polling companies that are most widely reported by news organizations in New Hampshire: St. Anselm College and the University of New Hampshire.

On November 1, just seven days before Election Day, St. Anselm's College released a survey titled "Saint Anselm College Survey Center Shows GOP Momentum". That survey showed Don Bolduc beating Maggie Hassan by 1% in the US Senate race and Karoline Leavitt beating Chris Pappas by 6% in NH-01. When all the votes are counted, Don Bolduc will lose by about 10% which is an 11% swing in the poll and Karoline Leavitt will lose by about 7% which is a 13% swing in the poll. Not to mention, Republicans in the NH House of Representatives lost seats and potentially the entire chamber. Nothing happened in 7 days between that survey and the election to shift the election that dramatically.

Jumping in on the poorly conducted polling, just TWO days before the election, the University of New Hampshire released a survey titled, "Senate & CD1 Too Close to Call 11/6/22". No, they were not too close to call. Let me repeat, Don Bolduc lost by TEN points. It was never "too close to call". Did Bolduc have a fired up supporter base? Absolutely. And so did Karoline Leavitt. But those races were never close when you lose by 10% and 7% respectively. UNH was wrong.

UNH has been a disaster of a survey center for years and they have proven to be way off election after election. In 2016, again just two days before Election Day, UNH released a survey predicting Colin Van Ostern would beat Chris Sununu 55%-44%. Chris Sununu went on to beat Van Ostern 49%-46.7%. A 13% swing in just two days? No, UNH was dead wrong...again. After that debacle, one would think the news media would never report UNH surveys again. Unfortunately, they do. And the media loses even more credibility when they report surveys from notoriously flawed polling centers.

Yes, polling makes for good news stories but the media should immediately stop reporting surveys from these flawed polling centers and hold them accountable for their poor work and results. The media must understand that they simply are rewarding poor behavior by reporting them over and over again, when they are wrong...over and over again. Polling centers should prove they can get it right before they have their results reported.

It should be noted that polling is very difficult and has been since the majority of people moved away from landlines to cell phones. It takes a long time to find enough voters to speak to in person to conduct a survey. As a result, many of these public polling centers perform their surveys via text and online. They cannot confirm that the person taking the survey fits the necessary demographics for accurate polling. That doesn't excuse the reporting of poor results.

If a business sells a product that doesn't work, that business suffers. If an organization, restaurant/non-profit/charity provides poor service, they lose customers or clients. UNH and St. Anselm's College Survey Centers have failed and until they can figure out how to get it right, they need to be held accountable for their failures.

View updated New Hampshire election results here and you can jump around to other states to view those results as well.

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