Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Opinion Poll Performance in the 2012 Mexican Presidential Election
February 27, 2013
Opinion polls are measurement tools. When they abide by the rules of scientific method in the estimation of their sample and their overall design, electoral opinion polls offer a snapshot of citizens' political preferences at a specific moment in time (usually, a particular date or period during the campaign season). Uncertainty is, thus, an inherent characteristic in all surveys because they attempt to shed light on an ethereal phenomenon, that of public opinion. The complexities of capturing the actual viewpoints of the general public have long been the subject of analysis, but experts agree that they stem from the difficulty of clearly defining who the public is, given the impossibility of quantifying each individual's responses in our contemporary societies. In short, polling is neither an exact science nor a simple glance into a crystal ball; rather, it is an imperfect yet useful technique for estimating electoral likes and dislikes at a particular time.