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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Not Paying Attention

At The Huffington Post, Ryan Grim and Natalie Jackson explain why we shouldn't put too much faith in polls this summer.
The reality is that most people won’t pay close attention to the election until the primaries next year or even right before ballots are cast next November. Almost half will never pay close attention.

Since 1987, Pew Research has asked this survey question: “As I read a list of some stories covered by news organizations this past week, please tell me if you happened to follow each news story very closely, fairly closely, not too closely, or not at all closely. News about candidates for the [relevant year's] presidential election. .
This chart, originally published in early May, shows the share of Americans who said they were following news about presidential candidates "very closely" in election cycles from 1988 through 2016. Since then, Pew Research has put out an estimate of what proportion of Americans are paying close attention to the 2016 race. That number? Sixteen percent. That means a whole lot of the people getting polled aren't following election news.
When HuffPost surveyed people who care a great deal about politics and the upcoming presidential election, the results were quite different from polls that weren't so selective.