The Affirmative Case For Polls

by Patrick Appel

Ryan Sager makes it:

As opposed to thwarting democracy, I’d say polling keeps us on the same page. It lets us know what our fellow shaved monkeys are thinking. And it gives us time to adjust our expectations when we support a losing candidate or issue. Is the Iranian system better, where there’s no polling anyone can trust, you hold the election, and then you have no idea if the result matches up to what the reality should be? If there had been no polling in 2004, and Bush beat Kerry by a small margin, would Democrats have accepted the result and gone on with their lives? Or would there have been riots from protesters alleging election fraud? Sure, some nuts still say Ohio was stolen; but the result matched up generally with pre-election polling (not exit polling, which was way off, but pre-election polls that had Bush slightly ahead).

Overall, while polling has its downsides, it keeps the system stable. And that’s a good thing.

I'm with Sager. Henry at the Monkey Cage also follows up.