Payroll Tax Debate Poll: Possible Flaws
Gallup mostly conducts its polls in a scientific fashion, and is often regarded as a fair, unbiased pollster. However, any daily tracking poll, such as the one regarding payroll tax sentiment, is less reliable than traditional polls conducted over several days, because it is difficult to gather a sufficiently diverse sample. Since the poll was conducted on December 28, it is also possible that respondents were busy with holiday activities, or traveling, and therefore more difficult to reach. Cliff Zukin, professor of public policy and political science at Rutgers, told the New York Times that while surveys conducted between Christmas and New Years aren’t officially condemned, it is acknowledged that samples can be affected by some demographics being absent or busy.
Interpreting the Poll Results
The Gallup results are consistent with aggregate polling that show trends in positive approval for Democrats following the payroll tax debate. However, the debate is far from over, as Democrats and Republicans will need to hammer out a plan to extend the measure past February. The aftermath of what is sure to be heated discourse may bring about new changes in polling.
Gallup. USA Today/Gallup Poll, Obama, Democrats have Edge on Payroll Tax, Unemployment. Accessed December 29, 2011.
New York Times. Are Polls During the Holidays Less Reliable? Accessed December 29, 2011.
Click to Return to Page One: Obama, Democrats More Trusted in Payroll Tax Debate
Decoding Science. One article at a time.