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Signal and Noise: What's Wrong with Polling

What kinds of information help us connect to each other on the most important issues of our day? Not polls, says Center co-director Matt Nisbet in his latest blog post. In fact, they’re hurting, not helping. It’s polling addiction that is keeping important issues like climate change off media’s radar—until, say, a hurricane takes out New Jersey.

“It's the news media's very obsession with polls and models that hinders our ability to talk about substantive issues, from climate change to inequality,” he notes. Even smart statistical analysis like Nate Silver’s still participates in horse-race coverage, focusing on game strategy rather than issues.

“When election coverage becomes Sports Center on steroids, we all lose,” says Nisbet.