On Wednesday, the latest CNN/ORC poll was released. Immediately after its release, CNN published two articles that touted how much better the top two candidates were doing in comparison with their competitors. According to this newest poll, Donald Trump had a wide lead over his Republican rivals, while Hillary Clinton had both improved her standing in some areas with Democrats and lost ground against her eventual competition on the Republican side.
If this seems like more biased reporting in support of Clinton and Trump, you’re right. Now CNN/ORC polls are considered reputable, but the methodology for this poll is flawed when they come up with their conclusions. Don’t despair, all of you Bernie Sanders or Marco Rubio fans — your fight isn’t over yet.
Let’s get to the first mistake in the methodology that most modern polls have. They rely too heavily on landline phones. Landline phones were great when everyone was reliant on them to call people, but most people don’t use them now. As of 2013, only 41% of American households still had landline phones, and most of those were with people 65 and older. That means that most respondents who took this poll were probably older, which is born out in their data.
That really explains the next huge problem with this survey. If you take a look at the data for the survey, you see that there are no respondents who are 18 to 34, or they are not applicable. That is absolutely astounding when you consider they are the largest voting percentage in the country now, but then again most of them don’t have landlines so it makes sense in a way. However, they are also the ones who support the Bernie Sanders campaign the most, and since they aren’t represented in this poll, the conclusions are wrong because the data is faulty.
If the poll included more cellular numbers, polled online users, and polled younger people of society instead of mostly the very old, maybe Donald Trump wouldn’t have such a huge lead over the rest of the Republican field, and the latest Quinnipiac Poll might not really be that much of an outlier after all. In that poll, Trump only has a 4-point lead over his nearest rival. Also, if you look at that poll, the support from young people for Bernie Sanders is overwhelming in most instances.
So why do news agencies release polls with such flawed data sets? Perhaps they have ulterior motives. Maybe they are actively working to have people in the primaries vote for the candidates they would like to see in the general election so they will have more news coverage when that time rolls around. Or maybe I am just being a little too cynical of the nation’s news agencies that are controlled by just six all-powerful and monolithic corporations.