Polls Have Consequences

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David Freddoso chronicles a little real-world fallout from the Research 2000 pollster scandal.  I mean, aside from the clusters of journalists who could recently be found at cocktail parties, shaking their heads and saying "Really?  Really, some guy just sat in a room and made up some numbers and called it a poll?"

It's easy to overstate how important polls are, of course--most of the yelling about whether one poll or another is "biased" is less about outcomes and more about shooting dressing down the messenger.  But polls do make some difference in how political funds get allocated, and who volunteers for what candidate.  On the margin, this can make the difference between success or failure for a few candidates.  One wonders whether Research 2000 actually managed to bag a few close races for Democrats over the course of its illicit life.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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