Polling drives our political process far more than debates do. Debates are just the candidates yakking in real time.
Polls are predictions of the future. They are crystal balls. They are magic.
Pollsters try to deny this, humbly murmuring about how their magic is a mere “snapshot in time.” But we don’t believe this.
Pollsters are wizards, shamans, diviners. They toss numbers around the way astragalomancers once tossed bones to foretell events to come. (The name comes from the Greek astragalos, meaning “knucklebone.” But you knew that.)
Increasingly, however, pollsters find it difficult to get people to talk to them. This should not be a surprise. Pollsters call us during inconvenient times when they expect us to be home (the dinner hour, for example) and then can ask all sorts of personal questions about our age, sex, religion, party affiliation, income and whom we intend to vote for.
I have never been called by a political pollster and don’t know anybody who has, but I know some pollsters, who assure me they don’t make the numbers up, and I believe them.
A Politico hit piece on polls.