Polls of Midterm Voters Are Prone to ‘Bandwagon Effect,’ Are Unreliable: Experts

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Polls of prospective voters, which have been widely cited throughout the 2022 midterm races, are based on flawed methodology, and their use as a tool to achieve the outcome desired by the mainstream media has been conspicuous during this election cycle, political strategists and polling experts have told The Epoch Times.

Whatever limited use polls may have, one of their likely consequences, in the current politicized environment, is the “bandwagon effect.” This describes a phenomenon where the media misuse polls to demoralize political opponents and their supporters and to suggest to undecided voters that they are out of step with majoritarian and mainstream sentiment if they do not get on board with the candidate or candidates whom the polls favor, one expert said. Hence polls favoring candidates whom the media want to win become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Poll results from such sources such as FiveThirtyEight and RealClearPolitics, along with those in mainstream media outlets such as the New York Times, have consistently favored Democrat candidates in the closely watched Senate and gubernatorial races, though the margins have shrunken since the summer.

For example, FiveThirtyEight’s latest polling averages for the Pennsylvania Senate race show Democrat John Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, ahead of Donald Trump-endorsed Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz by a slight margin, 46.9 percent to 46 percent, even after an Oct. 25 debate in which Fetterman gave a halting and confused performance that came in for harsh criticism from commentators on both sides of the aisle. On Aug. 10, the same source showed Fetterman with a roughly 12-point lead over Oz, 49.2 percent to 37.3 percent.

In Georgia’s closely-watched Senate race between Democrat incumbent Raphael Warnock and Trump-endorsed Republican challenger Hershel Walker, FiveThirtyEight’s latest data show a race nearly as tight, with Warnock enjoying 46.7 percent support and Walker 45.4 percent. On July 31, Warnock had a reported three-point lead, 47.2 percent to 44.2 percent.

By Michael Washburn

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