Imagining a world without horserace polling

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Gallup’s Frank Newport imagines a political world without horesrace polling.

My experience, and a reading of history, suggest there is a basic human instinct to want to know who is ahead and who is behind in an election. If there are no polls, people will attempt to figure the election out anyway – often using inferior or biased information.

Some visionaries might dream that without horse race polls, all discussion and news coverage of presidential elections would immediately and totally turn to the “issues” we hear so much about. I doubt very much this would occur. Journalists, pundits, commentators and assorted oddballs would happily jump into the void not to discuss issues, but instead to claim that they had the correct truth about who was ahead and who was behind. Worse, if we had no public polls, campaign operatives would provide leaked or hinted at assessments that would spin the race in ways that would favor their candidate.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.