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Catawba Professor Speaks on Political Polling

October 24, 2008

Category: Faculty, History & Politics


Political Polling has Limited Impact
by Jennifer Moxley, www.news14.com

Mike Caskey is one of hundreds of thousands of North Carolina voters heading to the polls early. He headed to the Rowan County Government Center late Thursday afternoon to cast his ballot.

Caskey is aware of the public opinion polls that try to gauge where the presidential candidates are in the race to the White House. As Election Day nears, those public opinion polls are trying to keep up with the pulse of voters. Caskey takes them with a grain of salt.

"I think sometimes you get motivated to come out if your guy's behind, so I'm coming out to vote today actually," he said.

Larry Dunlap just finished voting and said his candidate is ahead in most polls, though he still wanted to get his vote in and tallied. Dunlap said polls don’t offer much information but do offer incentive.

 Many early voters say their minds are made up regardless of what the polls say. "If your guy is down, it kind of encourages you to get out a little quicker to vote you know," said Dunlap.

BitzerCatawba College political science professor Dr. Michael Bitzer said public opinion polls have the most impact on voter motivation.

"If it's a close race and it looks like your vote can make a difference, probably people will go out and cast that ballot," Bitzer said.

Bitzer and his class have been keeping a close eye on the polls, but he says the average voter doesn't pay as much attention.

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