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How Does Polling Work And Is It Too Early To Trust The Data?

Mary Katharine Ham get into the gears of polling today on the Federalist Radio Hour and discusses new polling on what millennials think about our political parties.


Mary Katharine Ham dug into the gears of polling today on the Federalist Radio Hour with Stephanie Slade, deputy managing editor at Reason Magazine, and Alex Smith, national chairman for College Republicans. They discussed the usefulness of polling this prematurely to the general election, how polling outfits actually gather data, and what polls have told us about millennial voters.

Because of a shrinking number of landlines and plummeting response rates, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to reach people to poll. “Remember that things can change very quickly after a party’s nominee gets the nomination locked up,” Slade said. “We’re actually seeing that right now with Donald Trump. Although he’s been leading for months and months, there were a lot of hold-outs…now they’re coming around.”

There is no silver bullet when it comes to best practices in polling. “You ultimately still have a problem of figuring out who is actually going to turn out to vote, and what is the electorate going to look like demographically,” Slade said.

College Republicans just released data from their survey of young Americans that show millennials favoring Democrats but prefer limited government. “This generation is one that actually uses freedom in its everyday life,” Alex Smith said. “That’s why it’s so incompatible with a top-down structure like healthcare, telling us we all have to fit in the same box.”

Listen now: