Looking at poll discrepancies and whether you can trust them

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — In a CNU poll released last Friday, Hillary Clinton holds a seven-point lead in Virginia. That’s one day after a Quinnipiac University poll gave Clinton a 12 point edge over Trump.

On Thursday, an AP national poll had Clinton leading by 14 percentage points among likely voters. And then on Friday, the latest ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll gave Clinton a four-point lead.

“We can in general trust polling,” political analyst Richard Meager told 8News. “I mean polling is a little bit of art, a little bit of science.”

42634c0915444f82bd1efdcd68af9035-1Meagher says the key is not to look to any one poll or its numbers. Instead, he says look at trends and steer clear of outliers.

“Big outlying numbers, numbers that are way higher or way lower than anybody else, you can probably be a little wary of,” Meagher said.

But why are we seeing discrepancies? Meagher says technology has made it tougher.

“Most people use cell phones now, it’s harder to get access to cell phones, it’s harder or pollsters to reach people through cell phones,” Meagher explained.

He says in reality, the race is tightening and it’s not unexpected as he says voters move away from third party candidates.

“That kind of movement from third party candidates from third party candidates to the two major parties is part of what’s driving the tightening of the race,” Meagher said.

And Meagher says claims that tpolls are pulling for any one candidate are false. He says ost important to pollsters is getting it right.

“They’re embarrassed when they don’t get it right and they want people to think that they’re polling is reliable so absolutely they’re not trying to advance one candidate or another,” Meagher said. “In general people are pretty honest with pollsters.”

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