You hear it every election cycle: This presidential candidate is projected to beat that presidential candidate, according to one of the dozens of polls out there.
The 2016 election has helped people see how many polls there are out there, as they are often referenced by candidates to show that they're winning. Most of those polls cited are from national institutions, news networks and even websites like Twitter.
But despite the influx of polls, they are still one of the more confusing facets of politics, raising several questions among citizens. How do they work? Who is being polled? Are they even accurate?
Since it's nearly impossible to get the opinion of every American, pollsters instead survey a relatively large sample that reflects the population. This sample, if gathered correctly, can serve as a close representation of how America might vote.
Generally, most polling groups sample 1,500 residents, because it often reflect the whole within a three-point margin of error.
Still, some polling samples can get it wrong. For example, the U.S.C Dorns Life/Los Angeles Times Daybreak poll, which, according to the New York Times, has become the biggest polling outlier in this election cycle. In that poll, a 19-year-old black man and Donald Trump supporter from Illinois has been weighed as much as 30 times more than the average poll respondent.
According to the New York Times, the Illinois resident has been the reason why the poll shows double-digit support among black voters for Trump.
So the questions remains: How accurate are polls?
Although many political scientists question that impact polls can have on elections, historically, polls are rarely ever wrong, and have correctly predicted most presidential elections.
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