How not to read presidential polls: The increasing absurdity of media reports

This column was originally published by the Times of Israel.

While various statistical methods may be sound, all polling analysis depends on the quality of assumptions and data inputted.  Garbage in, garbage out: skewed data inputs lead to skewed poll results, no matter how brilliant any particular statistical methodology.  

At first, it was just a trickle, a misguided throw-away line here and there, easily ignored.  Then it started picking up momentum, showing up in one Israeli commentary after another.  And now, it is conventional wisdom in the Israeli press and public that the U.S. election is already over, that polls show President Obama’s reelection is inevitable, and that Republican Mitt Romney might as well throw in the towel now.
Of course, this is nonsense.  It is based on the most superficial reading of the most superficial polls.  Continue reading
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