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The Campaign’s Over – Is Nate Silver back in his Sepulcher?

December 3, 2012

No!  He tuned in a great blog post this weekend on the biases in internal polling.  Apparently internal GOP polls for key states were biased toward Romney by an average of 4.7%.  Independent polls also turned out to have been slightly biased toward Romney, but internal polls were twice as far off, and that level of inaccuracy and bias is typical.  Why?

These sorts of discrepancies are normally pinned on selective releases – campaigns release or leak their internal polls when it supports their campaign narrative.  Silver digs deeper, though, and pins the problem to groupthink, confirmation bias, and the perverse incentives for internal pollsters, who want to be liked and appreciated by their fellow campaign workers, and want to keep their jobs.

He then notes:  “These problems can be worse when we join together to form businesses or organizations. Honest self-assessment is a challenge for any business…”

Assessing how much people (voters, customers) like things, is hard enough.  Assessing how much they will like things that don’t yet exist (a Romney presidency, a product idea) is even harder.  Customer discovery is a lot harder than it looks.


From → Standard Blog

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