Poll Axed

Did the pollsters blow the recent elections--or did it just seem that way?

Is that a bad thing? In George Gallup's view, political polls had great potential as a democratizing agent and a "tool for social change that [would] restore a much-needed semblance of power to the politically inarticulate." The reality, of course, has been more complicated. Voters are turned off when they think politicians stand for nothing but pandering to their polls. And voters disengage when they think that elections are nothing but a foregone conclusion.

That, no doubt, explains the pleasure that many of have taken in the pollsters' more glaring failures during the recent election season. After all, everyone likes a little drama--except for maybe a pollster on Election Day.

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