Geoff Pender: Polls will always err, that’s why we hold elections

Last week in short order I received about six copies or links to a new national poll that showed Mississippi — that’s right, Mississippi — is becoming a swing state in the presidential election. It showed Republican Donald Trump leading Democrat Hillary Clinton here by only two points, 48 percent to 46 percent, with 6 percent still on the fence.

The state Democratic Party pounced on this like a chicken on a junebug, and sent out a blast e-mail declaring: “Your message is working! Mississippi is on the verge of becoming a swing state, one of 19 too close to call.”

It also offered a link for folks to donate $100, $50 or $20 to keep the momentum going as deep red Mississippi obviously turns plum purple.

But this poll is questionable or, as one national critic put it, “a load of crap.” Frank Corder at Y’all Politics noted, “Sheer common sense would tell you there is no possible way Clinton is within two points of Trump in the reddest state in the Union.”

The Washington Post-SurveyMonkey poll was an online survey. Online surveys are widely held to have about the same margin of error as a Ouija board or a Magic 8-ball.

Clarion Ledger
9/10/16