Polls and its effects: A closer look.

Looking at the year 2016, and also 2017 in more recent political battles, polls had/have a great influence on people's vote, whether people in whatever corner they are in like it or not.

Looking at the later polls in the 2016 US Presidential Election, there are some similarities between different outlets releasing their polls, the effects of such polling and the aftermath, what could have been.

According to Realclearpolitics.com, polls from major news outlets just 1 day before the election show that Clinton is still supposed to be cruising to victory. There’s only 1 poll showing that it might just be too close to call, within the margin of error, and 1 poll showing Trump was actually 5 points up.

Courtesy of Realclearpolitics.com

Now what happened, we all know. Trump won by a ‘’Landslide’’ victory, and everyone with a liberal heart was outraged, as republicans would have been outraged the other way. TV stations all over the country reported on this, major news outlets online, on paper, everywhere. But weren’t they kind of a part of the problem here? Polls do influence people. If a candidate is up by so much, 1 day before election day, would you vote? Because it wouldn’t really matter, he/she has already won anyway according to these polls. This might have stirred up many Trump-supporters to go and vote for him, despite waiting out in the cold for many hours before they could cast their vote. Regardless of what you think of Donald Trump in the end, it happened, he’s the POTUS.

Now let's connect this to Dutch politics. All of you non-European (or even non-Dutch) people might not be familiar with Dutch politics. Completely understandable. But the polls in The Netherlands showed that the PVV (Geert Wilders’ party, known for its strong points on immigration and anti-Islam) was at 35 seats in the parliament (out of 150, with 76 seats necessary for a majority). However this lead has shrunk to be just 1 seat higher than the current biggest party and party of the prime minister Mark Rutte, the VVD. All I personally am seeing is that 1) Mark Rutte, especially after his page long advertisement in a big newspaper, trying to get voters back who left for the PVV and 2) The notorious ‘’Teeven-deal’’, involving a high end criminal Cees H, struck a deal with the government to retain part of his 2 million Guilders (1,1 approx.) that was supposed to be taken by the government as part of a criminal investigation. This has caused many politicians to resign from their positions, including 2 Ministers and 1 Secretary of Justice.

That was a bit of background regarding political happenings in the past few months. Now let’s look at the recent polls.

Courtesy of Ipsos Nederland.

Green bars show polls on the 2nd of February, blue on 16th of February. However this isn’t the entire tale, losing a seat here and there is normal and can always happen depending on political opinions changing. But in a few months Geert Wilders' PVV has lost over 10 seats even though Mark Rutte, our current PM, has only been in the news in negative ways? How are these polls trying to influence you & I? This shows the opposite side of influencing through polling.

Let’s assume the American pollsters didn’t have a political agenda. They made a grave mistake polling Hillary Clinton so high, probably due to high oversampling. They estimated the American voter base wrongly. How are these polls trying to influence you & I? They’re always influencing, regardless of people behind it actually meaning to influence you. Let’s assume the positive side of humans here. However, there’s something wrong here. 1 party (VVD) is only rising in the polls despite bad news over and over? The PvdA got slammed in the current polls because of their performance in the current cabinet (together with their partners in crime, or politics, the VVD). where they won 38 seats in 2012, they are currently on only 11 seats. Really makes you think.

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