Do you trust polls?

Do you trust polls?

Posted by Joseph Ryan on Tue, 09/23/2008 - 11:01
Over the next several weeks, we will be flooded with campaign-funded polls. Mostly, we will ignore them. And today we see the reason why. Congressional candidate Debbie Halvorson released a poll today showing her up by 8 percentage points in her bid to turn the red 11th District in the south suburbs blue. But wait ... her opponent, construction giant Martin Ozinga, put out a poll saying he is down by only 2 percentage points. Of course, if these campaigns got poll results that weren't too flattering, we wouldn't be hearing about them. That is one clear reason we always must view them skeptically. Not only are they used to influence the media, they are also used to convince donors to cough up cash and national organizations to pitch in foot soliders and ads. Yet, they can be useful as one of the many tea leaves political watchers employ to try and predict voter behavior and sentiment. See, both polls show Ozinga with a decent bloc of supporters, around the mid 30s. There is also an indication Halvorson has taken hits over the last few weeks, likely because of her association with Senate President Emil Jones Jr. and by extension, the governor. Halvorson is Jones' majority leader, and you can bet Ozinga isn't letting voters forget that given all the mess down in Springfield. The Republican is making sure Halvorson has to own that title in this election as she tries to win over women and moderate voters in a district that encompasses some very red rural territory. On the other hand, both polls also show Halvorson ahead. Given that the district includes some south suburbs that have boomed in the last few years and the city of Joliet, that means she still has a pretty good shot at winning this thing. Regardless, you can be sure the polling will continue and this race, like several now in the suburbs, will become even closer as Election Day nears.
Comments ()
We are now using Facebook comments to offer a more inclusive, social and constructive discussion. Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our or terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.