Political Polls and Charts

Ah, politics and polling. The media loves to report every data point, but now we have an example of a misleading poll. People have been surprised that Donald Trump, Republican presidential candidate, hasn't taken more of a hit after his comment about Senator John McCain. Trump said, "He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured, OK?"

A New York Times article explains why Trump may still lead the Republican polls, although people are upset by the remark. One explanation is that poll reporting lags. We hear the results of polls days after they're taken. In the chart below, the article shows the results of Huffington Post and CNN polls as we saw them in the news, showing Trump's comments on July 18. 

Trump poll 1

 This second chart shows the results of polls the date they were taken:

Trump poll 2

Discussion Starters: 

  • How much do you think poll matter during an elective? How, if at all, do they influence you? 
  • What can be done to ensure that polls don't mislead the public? Consider the roles and responsibilities of news agencies.