How Political Polling Works

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Poll: 89% Of Debate Viewers Tuning In Solely To See Whether Roof Collapses

HEMPSTEAD, NY—Explaining that the American people showed relatively little interest in learning more about the nominees’ economic, counterterrorism, or immigration policies, a new Quinnipiac University poll revealed that 89 percent of viewers were tuning into Monday night’s presidential debate solely to see whether the roof collapses on the two candidates.
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How Political Polling Works

The Onion provides a step-by-step guide to the U.S. political polling process.

  • Step 1: Researchers begin by dialing every possible U.S. phone number combination, starting with (111) 111-1111
  • Step 2: Dinner interrupted
  • Step 3: Pollster asks to speak with the member of the household who best represents the nation as a whole
  • Step 4: Respondent selects poll difficulty level of “easy,” “medium,” or “hard”
  • Step 5: Thousands of poll respondents hearing candidates’ names for the very first time asked to make rational judgment about which one is better
  • Step 6: Pollsters listen for key epithets in voter’s rant to determine stance on immigration
  • Step 7: Pollster, respondent both silently wonder whether great cold-call conversation could blossom into something more
  • Step 8: Voters who are identified as undecided are forced to stay on the line until they make up their minds
  • Step 9: Pollster calls ex and remains totally silent when they pick up, just listening to the sound of their voice for a few precious moments before hanging up
  • Step 10: Poll’s margin of error determined by asking pollster how good a job they think they did
  • Step 11: Color palette for pie chart selected
  • Step 12: Statisticians explain why polling data was so flawed and inaccurate after election results come in

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