Millennials Are Upset About The Presidential Poll Results, But Won’t Answer Their Phones For Pollsters

Dawn Papple
Jul 21, 2019 · 4 min read
Qualifying polls for the Democratic Debates rely on polling numbers.
Qualifying polls for the Democratic Debates rely on polling numbers.

In 2010, a Pew Research Center staffer explained in blog post that survey non-response was an increasing issue even then, nearly a decade ago. The staffer also admitted that if the type of people who refuse to take part in surveys are different from the type of people who do participate, their polls will be inaccurate. At that time though, the staffer said their surveys were still proving to be mostly accurate. That was 9 years ago. That was before Bernie woke up an entire generation (or two). By the 2016 election, as we all saw, surveys conducted by telephone seemed to have no bearing on reality.

How Ignoring Phone Calls Could Directly Alter Our Election

As noted in a Finch & Eagle article, the issue arises when the Democratic Party uses these polls as a means to determine who gets the national attention of the debate stage platform.

In order to qualify for the September debates, each Democratic Party candidate must earn at least 2-percent of the party’s voting preference in four qualifying surveys and have at least 130,000 unique campaign donors.

Meanwhile, qualifying polls like the NBC News and Wall Street Journal poll sometimes utilize the opinions of a mere 400 Democratic voters. This means that if just eight registered Democrats who support Progressive candidates like Tulsi Gabbard would have picked up their phones and answered the survey questions, those candidates would have been able to add a qualifying poll under their belt.

Still, the problem is even greater than that. Read on.

Weighed Polls Present A False Sence Of Accuracy

Oftentimes, so few Millennials answer their phones that they have to weight the votes. That means these polling agencies have to increase the weight of sometimes just one or two Millennial’s votes so that the survey represents the population size of that generation “more accurately.”

Yet, there is no feasible way to get accurate results of a whole generation from just a couple of respondents called at random. Especially, considering that the Pew Research Center’s staff member wrote in 2010, “If the kinds of people who refuse to take part in surveys are different from those who do participate, our polls will be biased.”

See, voters who support candidates like Tulsi Gabbard who have fought for a renewal of privacy rights are absolutely more likely to differ from the types of people in their same generation that are actually willing to pick up the phone from an unknown number.

The Party Only Considers The Opinions Of Registered Democrats

While the Democratic Party leaders say that they want a strong candidate for the General Election, they really want the candidate that will best suit the agenda of their corporate sponsors. This means that all of those Millennials who are registered to vote but refuse to register as a Democrat on principle will be left out of most debate-qualifying presidential preference polls.

So, all of those Progressives who DemExited in 2016 after watching the corruption of the party during that election season will not be included in most qualifying polls either. Which candidates do you think this most impacts? Obviously, this most affects the more principled Progressive candidates like Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, Mike Gravel, Andrew Yang, and Marianne Williamson. When you look at the results of the qualifying polls, you can be certain that these candidates are under-represented in poll results compared to real life.

Why Don’t Millennials Answer Their Phones?

Last year, a staff writer at The Atlantic named Alexis C. Madrigal confessed to answering the phone for less than one-tenth of his phone calls:

“No one picks up the phone anymore. Of the 50 or so calls I received in the last month, I might have picked up four or five times. The reflex of answering — built so deeply into people who grew up in 20th-century telephonic culture — is gone.”

CallTrackingMetrics stated that Millennials consider unexpected calls “disruptive, time-consuming, and a bit presumptuous.”

In 2016, Daisy Buchanan told readers of The Guardian that she blames anxiety in part for Millennials’ refusal to answer the phone:

“Many millennials struggle with mental health, and we’ve been dubbed the ‘anxious generation’. As an anxiety sufferer, nothing fills me with dread and terror like a phone call from a withheld number.”

If Millennials Want A Brave Leader, They Must Find Courage Themselves

We are now stuck in a difficult place where one of the most powerful organizations in the world (the Democratic Party) teamed with one of the most powerful industries in the world (the corporate media) are in the position to determine the candidates that most registered voters learn about. This is neither ethical nor democratic, but it is the field we are playing on.

Millennials must fight past their social discomfort and answer their phone calls. These calls come between 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock at night. Millennials must overcome their idealism about remaining a political independent with no party preference. Most qualifying polls for presidential preference within the party don’t care one iota about the opinions of people who are not registered as a Democrat. If Millennials want their candidates on the debate stage, they will have to do the following:

  1. Register as a Democrat, now.
  2. Answer the phone.

If Millennials want fundamental political change, they must engage in this biased process. If they don’t engage in this process, then they will have to wait until a future election when the rules are different, because their voices will simply be ignored this time around, just like the telephone calls they receive.

Dawn Papple

Written by

Tweet: @PappleDawn | Facebook: @dawnpapple | Libertarian-leaning Progressive

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