Polling Expert Richard Baris Explains Why Polling Companies Are Intentionally Inaccurate

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on March 26, 2022

Expert pollster Richard Baris (Known as the People’s Pundit online) who runs his own private crowd-funded polling firm, Big Data Poll, recently spoke at Hillsdale College on the topic of whether or not polling is reliable.

Baris has been one of the most accurate pollsters in the 2020, 2018, and 2016 American elections, and sees the majority of other polling companies and polling aggregators operating today as bad actors knowingly putting out flawed data.

Baris explained in his speech that the money inside the polling industry favours polling companies that put out new poll after new poll. Volume is favoured over quality, even though many of these companies were off by double-digits in multiple states over the past few elections.

On top of that, because mainstream pollsters are given massive budgets to simply jam out content for the media companies they work for, while their deep inaccuracies go unpunished, Baris believes they are incentivized to craft polls to try and influence voters, and donors, and not just gauge public opinion.

The logic goes: If your accuracy does not affect your budget, and having a flawed methodology may help your preferred candidate generate donations, and get out the vote, then why not scuff a few polls? 

Baris is convinced that results in several states during the 2020 presidential election were significantly affected by the massive polling inaccuracy from the mainstream polling companies, and yet nobody seems to be reforming the way they conduct polls.

He argued, using Wisconsin as an example if Biden is shown to be up by double-digits over Trump in the 2020 race, donations are naturally going to decrease for Trump’s campaign and voters may choose to not show up to the polls if they think their candidate has no chance.

Seeing as Wisconsin was decided with only slightly more than 20,000 votes the pollsters definitely could have decided that race, when intentional or through gross incompetence. Baris said that despite his results being consistently accurate, he still is ignored by the mainstream pollsters, pointing to much of the inaccuracy in the polling industry being a feature, not a bug.

Everyone who is interested in polling should watch the full speech from Richard Baris and subscribe to his Youtube channel. The amount of misinformation floating out in the public about polling is quite high, and much of what Baris is saying about American polling companies also apply to Canadian polling companies who also have a bad reputation for producing accurate results.

Wyatt Claypool

Wyatt is a student at Mount Royal University, where he is the president of its Campus Conservative club. In his writing, he focuses on covering provincial and federal politics, firearms regulation, and the energy sector. Wyatt has also previously written for The Post Millennial.

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