Don’t Pay Attention to the Polls!

If you feel defeated when you look at the polls, you’re not alone.  But let me share some important things about polling that might change your perspective:

  • Registered Voters vs. Likely Voters – Much of the polling is based on surveys of registered voters, rather than likely voters.  Many, many registered voters fail to vote, so polls that survey all registered voters are not an accurate predictor of election results. Moreover, those who are registered but don’t intend to vote tend to lean more to the left. 
  • National Polling vs. Battleground Polling – Surveying voters across the entire country  cannot predict election outcomes. National polling, at best, is an indicator of the popular vote, which does not determine outcomes.  We’re not a pure democracy; we’re a democratic republic. Each state is given a voice, regardless of population.[1] Candidates must focus on winning large numbers of states, not numbers of people. Therefore, to speak to actual election outcomes, polling must be focused on the battleground states that candidates need in order to secure victory. 
  • Underrepresentation of Republicans – According to Gallup, there are roughly an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. Some research shows that Democrats have historically had more registrations, but the differential has been about 1-2%.  Still, most polls show a bias toward Democrats of at least 6%, with many climbing up into the double digits.  This faulty methodology is thought to be responsible for misrepresenting Trump’s position by 8 points overall in 2016. 
  • The 2016 Surprise – In 2016, the pollsters predicted with confidence that Clinton would be the next president and were stunned by Trump’s electoral victory. Many pollsters discovered, after the fact, that there had been many Trump voters the pollsters had somehow missed. Many battleground polls have shown Trump to be in better position in 2020 than he was in 2016.   What is more, many are predicting that “Trump’s shy vote” will be far greater in 2020 than in 2016.

As you can see, the polls are not an accurate predictor of an electoral outcome, and relying on them will likely only discourage us.  I am reminded of a story in the Bible that I think has application here:

King David had taken a census to count his troops and assess his military position (sound familiar?). This had angered God, which confused me until I made it to the key verse:  “[W]hen it was all done, David was overwhelmed with guilt because he had counted the people, replacing trust with statistics.”[2]

Let’s commit to doing our part regardless of the polls. It is estimated that over 30 million evangelicals do not vote, even while research conducted by George Barna has indicated that if only 10% more evangelicals would vote, it could determine all of our leaders across the country.  

 Let’s not lose heart.  Let’s rally like we’ve never rallied before.   

[1] Our electoral college system provides each state—even the smallest—with electoral votes. This system protects us from having every election determined by a handful of large cities, such as Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago, with combined populations capable of swaying the popular vote.

[2] 2 Sam. 24 (The Message)

2 thoughts on “Don’t Pay Attention to the Polls!

  1. I love this and needed to hear it! Thank you for helping me to keep my eyes on and faith in the Father and not on the polls or how it “seems” to be going…He is in control! Continuing to pray for our country and against all the schemes of the enemy. 🇺🇸💗


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