The Value of Polls

It's Election time again which means it's time for the polling game. And this game takes money and there are so many money contributors. Donald Trump has certainly contributed his share if you listen to his disjointed speeches and interviews. Hillary Clinton seems more interested in what money polling information and results can buy, and not just the publicity of the poll.

Every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt (he had the first pollster George Gallup to deal with) used such results but had to doubt the validity of how the numbers were gathered. It is much more sophisticated today. Take the case of President Barack Obama. He was elected twice and the media claimed him the most popular of the candidates. The 44th president, however, scored a mediocre 69 first term. By contrast, President George W. Bush had a robust 90 in his first term. Franklin Roosevelt in earlier years tallied 84 and Dwight Eisenhower, fresh from leading the Allied Forces to victory in WWII, received a 79 in their first terms.

GHW Bush, George's father and 47th president, scored 89.

President Harry Truman swept to power after Roosevelt's death in office with an impressive 87 in 1945. A tally higher than Roosevelt and Eisenhower. But in 1952 Truman received the lowest score of the post-war presidents seeking office with 22.

Obama's polling numbers prove little charisma or popularity. His highest figures came early in his first term. His polling numbers in mid-2014 period where at a low rating of 38%.

President Ronald Reagan, who many believe Democrats and Republicans think is the type of person needed for the job, had a modest 68% his first year and an overall average of 52% for two terms in the White House. George W. Bush, by contrast, scored a 90% his first four years but finished with an average of 49.4% for his two terms.

It leads to the question do political polls truly reflect the effectiveness or historical worth of our leaders?

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Copyright - John Behrens - 2018