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Sat Oct 6, 2012, 05:48 PM

Tracking polls too closely affects Voter Enthusiasm which in turn affect Election Results

See, I personally believe that posting poll after poll after poll, every hour one comes out, ends up doing a disservice to our chances in winning this election. Know that I'm saying this regardless of whether those polls are going up,up, up, or are coming down, down, down.

I believe that there is a direct correlation between polling direction and voters enthusiasm and election results and that this small circular situation feeds upon itself. Polls results creates a particular environment for voter enthusiasm, which in itself can help make the actual results of an election a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I have read many times at this site that consistent great upward bound poll numbers can lull activists and voters into a false sense of complacency. Although Voter enthusiasm certainly can grow due to positive upward polling, there is also a danger that some voters may simply figure that even if they decide not to bother and vote, their candidate still "has this"....and that could affect our election results if not enough folks show up for the ultimate poll.

Well, as polls lower, a similar result can occur, as the trajectory of polls can also affects voters' enthusiasm to go and vote. Sure, while some folks might end up working extra hard to try and reverse the trend of those polls, there is that thin line, were many others become dispirited and lose some of the drive they need to get out there and make a difference.

Currently, we are in the middle of early voting in many states, and the drive to cast an early ballot can be dimmed as folks start seeing a trend that doesn't favor their candidate. Some may decide to wait and see what happens before casting their votes; especially those who are soft supporters. the media knows this well, and so should we.

It is true that some will dismiss this OP and just believe that posting polls at some political forum has no effect in the real world. In fact, many of the same folks also believe that posting on a political internet site has no bearing on any of our politics at all. Well, I have and always will disagree with that notion that we make no difference, because I believe that we make quite a bit of a difference.

There is a reason that Big Bird as an issue is growing, and that stories of Romney's alleged cheating at the debates is getting some traction with some new sites. There is a reason that media talking heads emphasize on their shows that Obama supporters were deeply disappointed by Pres. Obama's debate performance. How do these talking heads know this? Because they have read it in the Tweets, the blogs and the FB. Don't think that the level of activists' enthusiasm is not measured by the media and the opposition trolling Internet sites such as DU and KOS, because that is exactly where they get quite a bit of their information. It isn't an accident that Republicans constantly talk about disappointed Obama voters. That word "disappointed" was overly used throughout Obama's nearly 4 years in office for just about everything that he did or said or didn't do or neglected to say.

Our media and those who work to influence our elections are quite aware that if active Internet partisans are becoming even a bit discouraged, that there is a very good chance of a resulting ripple effect that eventually will get to the general voters who aren't quite as vested.

In a way, the Republicans had the right idea in terms of telling their folks not to believe all of the polls. Not so much because all of the polls with bad news must be skewed or biased, but because bad polling can dampen enthusiasm, and the level of enthusiasm is crucial to a candidate's ground game and winning election. It appears that Republicans understand this, and we would be wise to understand the same.

SO yes, it is entirely possible that living by poll numbers which are inching downward can have a positive stimulating effect that combats over-confidence....but at some point, that downward effect can become a self fulfilling prophecy, which psychologically make it harder for activists to want to get out there and make a difference, as their job becomes that much harder in terms of the level energy they will have to muster when working in a campaign.

So, I for one, will not be reading certain threads here at DU that are posting polls for the next several days, and if I start seeing too many poll result headlines, I may have to excuse myself from this site altogether for a short while. You see, I like my current voter enthusiasm as it is just fine, and I don't want anything to drag it down. The results of this election are too important to me and to my family and to this nation's future for me to live or die by any poll other than the one that will take place on November 6. I want Democrats to win the Presidency, retain the senate and take back the house. I'm not sure if looking at downward polls is going to help me be more Fired up than I currently am. I don't have energy to spare to do battle with the insidious effect that looking at a bunch of polls gathered by a bunch of unreliable and/or reliable polling outfits might have on me. I can't take that chance of feeding into a possible self-prophecy that may eventually lead to an election result that would be extremely detrimental to our world's long term well being.

Make no mistake; this election result will impact the lives of all Americans, and the world beyond. None of what comes before this election (especially so close leading to it) is a game meant to entertain us in anyway. I also don't believe that posting polls and commenting on them endlessly is to be considered as "activism" that will get us where we want to go. It is a passive activity at best. I know that if I am ever asked, "what did you do to help our candidates get elected", my answer won't be....."I monitored the polling".

When someone in the real world has asked me about the polls, my answer has always been....."I'm too busy trying to get my party elected to find the time to read up on all of the results which appears to be changing by the minute, based on nothing more than an aggressive media which refuses to put the country before their profits".

Thanks for reading.....

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Arrow 16 replies Author Time Post
Reply Tracking polls too closely affects Voter Enthusiasm which in turn affect Election Results (Original post)
FrenchieCat Oct 2012 OP
Jackpine Radical Oct 2012 #1
FrenchieCat Oct 2012 #2
TroyD Oct 2012 #3
FrenchieCat Oct 2012 #4
TroyD Oct 2012 #5
FrenchieCat Oct 2012 #6
courseofhistory Oct 2012 #7
lunatica Oct 2012 #8
FrenchieCat Oct 2012 #9
TroyD Oct 2012 #10
regnaD kciN Oct 2012 #11
FrenchieCat Oct 2012 #13
heaven05 Oct 2012 #12
FrenchieCat Oct 2012 #14
Major Hogwash Oct 2012 #15
FrenchieCat Oct 2012 #16

Response to FrenchieCat (Original post)

Sat Oct 6, 2012, 06:01 PM

1. Like you, I refuse to get much sucked into the daily fluctuations.

You can actually "over-tune" a campaign by paying too much attention to the polls. That is, people try to find events in the world to explain each little ephemeral fluctuation & start thinking that the movements are due to the specific causes they think they have found. Then they try to manage or respond to similar events in hopes of affecting the polls, with the result that they expend a lot of energy and attention on irrelevancies.

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Reply #1)

Sat Oct 6, 2012, 06:14 PM

2. Yep.....Constant Poll watching just isn't constructive.....

and in fact, may be quite destructive!

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Response to FrenchieCat (Reply #2)

Sat Oct 6, 2012, 06:17 PM

3. Ignoring the importance of polls or of debates isn't constructive either

I hope this week was a wake-up call.

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Response to TroyD (Reply #3)

Sat Oct 6, 2012, 06:21 PM

4. I realize that my OP wasn't going to please those who are

constantly monitoring the polls.....and posting them here,
and that was the point of my op.

If you dont understand the damage being done
by posting poll after poll after poll after poll....
regardless of the methodology,
this close to an election,
then I can't help you,
but I can stay away from those poll threads baiting DUers to just come in and take a look.....

My op suggest that it would be best if most heed my respectful reasonable warning.

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Response to FrenchieCat (Reply #4)

Sat Oct 6, 2012, 06:26 PM

5. How does posting polls on DU have any effect on the election?

I wasn't aware most voters read this board.

What I am aware of is that 70 million people watched this week's debate and that THAT may have had an effect on the election.

If you don't understand the damage that can be done from not fighting back against Republicans, then I can't help you.

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Response to TroyD (Reply #5)

Sat Oct 6, 2012, 06:32 PM

6. Evidently you are better at reading polls than reading my op....

I know it was longer than reading a poll headline,
but my op actually answered exactly your question.....clearly.

Meanwhile, you are getting defensive, and it isn't required.
You don't need my stamp of approval to do what you are doing,
and calling it "fighting back against the Republicans".

Later today, I will be making calls to voters,
which I believe will contribute to my "fighting back against the Republicans"....



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Response to FrenchieCat (Original post)

Sat Oct 6, 2012, 06:34 PM

7. We have to get the word out

I keep saying this but the average voter doesn't tune into politcal forums or tweets about the election, etc. (although eveyrthing certainly helps get the word out). People need to talk to friends, neighbors, even strangers if the subject can be brought up and tell people that apathy can turn the election, explain why Obama needs to win and maybe even a few details about Romney's ever changing stances (lies) because a lot of people who watched the debate haven't followed everything very closely and simply took his word for the lies and his command of those lies in the debate. Velunteer for the campaign and even make your own flyers with pertinent points on them to hand out and give people a few extras and ask them to hand some out and pass it along (to get the word out in all those ways). I think the election is far from over and Obama will do well. He would have to lose OH, FL, NC and one other big swing state to lose the election. I doubt that will happen.

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Response to FrenchieCat (Original post)

Sat Oct 6, 2012, 06:35 PM

8. Thanks FrenchieCat

Polls basically show the emotional first kneejerk reactions to any given issue or situation. Humans still need time to thing things through if they aren't living their lives based on every little emotion that comes along. I've found it's a good practice to get past the emotional gut reaction and give it time to get some mental ruminations before deciding what is what.

I think President Obama has run a masterful campaign and that what appears to be a stumble will be turned into another masterful campaign moment. I've seen him do it too many times to not have faith in him.

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Response to lunatica (Reply #8)

Sat Oct 6, 2012, 06:42 PM

9. You are welcome lunatica!

Fighting our fucked up Corporate media is difficult......complicated.....and time consuming....

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Response to lunatica (Reply #8)

Sat Oct 6, 2012, 06:44 PM

10. I have no doubt Obama will fight back - he already is

And I was a Hillary supporter in 2008 (because I knew her from her many years in office and didn't know Obama since he was a new guy) and I remember the way in which he beat us in the primaries, so of course it's unwise to underestimate him.

All some of us are asking is not to take anything for granted again.

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Response to FrenchieCat (Original post)

Sat Oct 6, 2012, 06:51 PM

11. Do you have any evidence for your "trackers mirror enthusiasm" theory...

...or is it nothing more than your "belief?"

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Response to regnaD kciN (Reply #11)

Sat Oct 6, 2012, 09:38 PM

13. It's called the Bandwagon Effect.....

Results and Interpretation of a Study of Effects of Poll Reports on Voter Preferences: The Mehrabian Polling Snowball Effect
Mehrabian, A. (1998). Effects of poll reports on voter preferences. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 28, 2119-2130.

Overall, results obtained from both studies were consistent in showing the superior strength of the bandwagon or rally-around-the-winner effect .... it is important to consider cumulative effects of the bandwagon effect when it is combined with repeated and closely spaced reports of polling data. Assuming that the bandwagon effect is operative and one candidate is an initial favorite by a slim margin, reports of polls showing that candidate as the leader in the race will increase his or her favorable margin. Subsequent reports, based on more recent and stronger margins, will in turn progressively strengthen that candidate's lead.

This unstable equilibrium effect of polling described in the preceding paragraph, or The Mehrabian Polling Snowball Effect (MPSE) , helps identify a potential way in which political organizations can be tempted to influence voting by sponsoring biased "polling studies" and reports. Poll results can be slanted easily through selection of slightly skewed respondent samples or the actual wording of questions used in the polls. Frequent reporting of slanted and invalid poll results can help propel a candidate to the forefront and, in fact, increase his/her lead over time. Similar considerations would apply to major political issues (rather than candidates) is various political campaigns.

Accordingly voters need to be educated about the Polling Snowball Effect so they can be specially vigilant when they are repeatedly barraged by polling reports favoring one candidate (or poll results that suggest popularity of a particular campaign issue) during political campaigns. Voters, in particular, need to educate themselves about the political orientations of entities that repeatedly sponsor polling studies.

http://www.kaaj.com/psych/abstract/pollsabstract.html

In layman’s term the bandwagon effect refers to people doing certain things because other people are doing them, regardless of their own beliefs, which they may ignore or override For instance, once a product becomes popular, more people tend to "get on the bandwagon" and buy it, too. The bandwagon effect has wide implications, but is commonly seen in politics and consumer behaviour. This effect in noticed and followed very much by the youth, where if people see many of their friends buying a particular phone, they could become more interested in buying that (Apple products for example).
snip
The bandwagon effect occurs in voting: some people vote for those candidates or parties who are likely to succeed (or are proclaimed as such by the media), hoping to be on the "winner's side" in the end. The bandwagon effect has been applied to situations involving majority opinion, such as political outcomes, where people alter their opinions to the majority view (McAllister and Studlar 721). Such a shift in opinion can occur because individuals draw inferences from the decisions of others, as in an informational cascade.
snip
Several studies have tested this theory of the bandwagon effect in political decision making. In the 1994 study of Robert K. Goidel and Todd G. Shields in The Journal of Politics, 180 students at the University of Kentucky were randomly assigned to nine groups and were asked questions about the same set of election scenarios. About 70% of subjects received information about the expected winner (Goidel and Shields 807). Independents, which are those who do not vote based on the endorsement of any party and are ultimately neutral, were influenced strongly in favor of the person expected to win (Goidel and Shields 807-808). Expectations played a significant role throughout the study. It was found that independents are twice as likely to vote for the Republican candidate when the Republican is expected to win. From the results, it was also found that when the Democrat was expected to win, independent Republicans and weak Republicans were more likely to vote for the Democratic candidate (Goidel and Shields 808).

A study by Albert Mehrabian, reported in The Journal of Applied Social Psychology (1998), tested the relative importance of the bandwagon (rally around the winner) effect versus the underdog (empathic support for those trailing) effect. Bogus poll results presented to voters prior to the 1996 Republican primary clearly showed the bandwagon effect to predominate on balance. Indeed, approximately 6% of the variance in the vote was explained in terms of the bogus polls, showing that poll results (whether accurate or inaccurate) can significantly influence election results in closely contested elections. In particular, assuming that one candidate "is an initial favorite by a slim margin, reports of polls showing that candidate as the leader in the race will increase his or her favorable margin" (Mehrabian, 1998, p. 2128). Thus, as poll results are repeatedly reported, the bandwagon effect will tend to snowball and become a powerful aid to leading candidates.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bandwagon_effect


Do Polls Influence the Vote? - The University of Michigan Press
http://www.press.umich.edu/pdf/0472099213-ch11.pdf

MASS MEDIA, THE ELECTORATE, AND THE BANDWAGON. A STUDY OF COMMUNICATION EFFECTS ON VOTE CHOICE IN GERMANY

The paper addresses two propositions: (1) that by publishing news stories about the electoral strength of parties or candidates, the mass media contribute to shaping the voters' expectations about the likely outcome of an upcoming election; (2) that these expectations in turn stimulate a bandwagon effect, i.e. they influence vote choice to the advantage of the apparent future winner of the election. Analyzing media content and survey data gathered during the campaign for the first all-German national election of December 2, 1990, it can be shown that (1) interest in the media's political reporting as well as interpersonal political communication contributed significantly to converting voters to the view of the election outcome that was constantly presented by the mass media; (2) this belief in turn caused particularly unsophisticated independent voters to vote for the apparent winner of the election. Referring to the conceptual framework of ‘low information rationality’, this bandwagon effect is interpreted as ‘majority-led proxy voting’.
http://ijpor.oxfordjournals.org/content/8/3/266.short

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Response to FrenchieCat (Original post)

Sat Oct 6, 2012, 07:07 PM

12. grain of salt

nov 7th is the only result of all polls that I care about.

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Response to heaven05 (Reply #12)

Sat Oct 6, 2012, 10:20 PM

14. But that result can be affected with what is going on right now......

30 days out!

Check this!

Results and Interpretation of a Study of Effects of Poll Reports on Voter Preferences: The Mehrabian Polling Snowball Effect
Mehrabian, A. (1998). Effects of poll reports on voter preferences. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 28, 2119-2130.


Accordingly voters need to be educated about the Polling Snowball Effect so they can be specially vigilant when they are repeatedly barraged by polling reports favoring one candidate (or poll results that suggest popularity of a particular campaign issue) during political campaigns. Voters, in particular, need to educate themselves about the political orientations of entities that repeatedly sponsor polling studies.

http://www.kaaj.com/psych/abstract/pollsabstract.html

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Response to FrenchieCat (Original post)

Sat Oct 6, 2012, 11:30 PM

15. The DU forum doesn't exist in real life, sugar.

It only exists when you're here.

People are way too busy in real life to read all of the tripe that is written about the election that is posted at the DU forum.
Even the tracking polls.

Do this as an experiment, stay off of the internet for 1 day.
Now you won't know what the latest tracking polls posted at the DU forum have said.
You won't have to read how some jerk from Massachusetts thinks Obama blew the first debate.
You won't have to read about what some jackass from Minnesota thinks about Obama's chances now.
Plus, you won't have to read anything I have to say, either.

I've seen your pictures over at Facebook.
You're freakin' gorgeous.

Now, try that experiment.

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Response to Major Hogwash (Reply #15)

Tue Oct 9, 2012, 01:56 PM

16. Thanks for the compliment......Salty!

In any case, I'm just kicking this thread by responding to the Major!

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