Election polling is bad for democracy. Focus on educating voters instead

President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden debate in Cleveland on Sept. 29.
President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden debate in Cleveland on Sept. 29. Election polls consistently showed Biden was far ahead of Trump.
(Getty Images)

To the editor: Quinnipiac University Poll director Doug Schwartz’s review of the 2020 election surveys, and his statement that they are valuable, lead me to believe that election polls may in fact be doing a disservice to our democracy.

Members of the public begin to rely on polling rather than on educating themselves on the candidates and the issues. As a result, we have the blind leading the blind.

People might vote the way they think everyone else is voting. Or, if a candidate appears to be winning or losing easily because of the polls, some may assume the outcome is already determined, thus depressing turnout.


More attention should be paid to enlightening the electorate rather than asking their opinions on subjects they know little about. Poll numbers are not votes — let’s remember that.

Mary Clumeck, Santa Ana


To the editor: Yes, let’s end the polling. The news media spend way too much time and space on the horse race and way too little time and space on what the candidates are saying, what they are proposing to do and what they actually have done in the past.

Candidates call their opponents names and distort their past records and their plans. Covering that and sorting out all the facts takes a lot of time, so it is much easier for the media to devote time and space to the horse race.

But the public — and the candidates — are not well served by this.

Jerry Beigel, Los Angeles


To the editor: When pollsters call, I always assume it is a robo call and hang up. I wonder how many people like me do the same and if that somehow skews the numbers.

The polling industry needs to address this artifact of our society before the next election.


Richard Holmen, Trabuco Canyon