Podcast: Public polls and what we can learn from them


During an election year, nothing drives the news cycle more than public polling. It’s an easy, digestible way for the public to gauge electoral outcomes and ready-made for reporters to cherry pick data for headlines.

But the problem with polling is that the science behind how the pollsters collect their data, formulate their questions and sample voters is often opaque. The general public, and even members of the media, blindly put faith in numbers that may not be representative of various ethnic populations, or might under-sample women voters, for example. That volatility can make it difficult to get truly accurate data.

For this week’s Slant Podcast, we decided to shine a light on two of the more transparent and accurate polling institutes in New York state. Gerson Borrero and I made a trip up to Poughkeepsie to sit down with Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, and Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg for a wide-ranging discussion, including whether certain polls may be more reliable than others, why timing matters with polls in a presidential election and how polls account for wide-ranging demographics.

You can download, review and subscribe to this episode of The Slant Podcast on iTunes or stream the episode via Stitcher.