Politics & Government

Pollsters try not to stumble over unknowns

A few days before the election, national opinion polls confound:

•The popular vote in the presidential race will be either razor close or a double-digit blowout.

•The 14 percent of Americans who don't use landline phones at home, and thus aren't called by many pollsters, could upend all pre-election prognoses, or they won't.

•If first-time voters and African-Americans turn out in crushing numbers, stamp "never mind" over some of the surveys you're seeing today.

The caveats and variables of modern political polling are enough to cram a clipboard. The most glaring asterisk of all — that two out of three of us refuse to be polled — is just a fact of life in public pulse-taking.

This year, pollsters agree, the dangers of getting it wrong may be greater than ever — even if in recent elections they’ve had it mostly right.

Read the complete story at kansascity.com