CHICAGO, IL – In a recent poll of over 25% of the American population, 87% of responders said they think polls are 47% inaccurate.
The poll, conducted by Gallup, asked responders to give pollsters a best estimate as to how accurate polls are and to quantify that estimate as a percentage.
“We were a bit shocked that so few people actually think that polls are accurate,” said Clint Rogers, head of Research Acquisition for Gallup. “I mean, I would have expected maybe 25%, maybe as high as 40%, but 47%? That’s almost 50% of the 25% that we had polled. That’s like 13% of the entire country thinks that 47% of the information that we record is 53% inaccurate. That’s a mind blowing statistic.”
In addition to American’s views on accuracy, Gallup also asked responders if they felt percentages were easy to understand and if responders felt percentages required “too much math to understand.”
“About 63% of all people think that the math involved in polls is too much for them,” said Rogers. “When you think about it, it’s easy to see why. In a previous poll we did earlier this year 24% of 3,000 people surveyed said that math is or was their least favorite school subject. On top of that there was another recent poll that found 59% of the country dislikes math, 31% thinks math is ok, and 28% thinks math is at least slightly interesting. So 63% of the 25% of Americans surveyed saying that it took too much math to understand polls just makes sense.”
According to a Gallup spokesman, the poll took more than six months to complete as 60% of Americans called hung up on the pollster and 11% shouted obscenities in to the phone until the pollster disconnected.
“We’re used to people not responding well to our phone calls,” said survey conductor Burt Harrison. “I would say that it’s a safe bet that about 34% of the calls we make will actually get more than 50% of the poll complete before they get bored or angry. Those aren’t very good numbers, which is why we typically overestimate how long it will take us to complete the poll by about 38%.”
Math professors across the country are not surprised by the results of the current survey.
“The polls, more often than not, are useless and do a great disservice to actual statistics,” said Columbia Math Professor, Dawn Drissle. “Also, Americans suck at math.”