Alford: Polling and politics are a match made in hell

    When reporters start getting peppered with questions about polling on a regular basis, it’s a safe bet that Louisiana’s latest election season is about to blast off into outer space, writes Jeremy Alford in his latest column. Right now, polling matters to politicos in Louisiana, with races for governor and the Legislature slated for the fall.

    That also means that news outlets are hungry for the kind of public opinion data that picks winners and losers or sheds new light on policy issues. Sometimes that’s a good thing. Other times, not so much. Polls can be difficult to interpret, the money behind them can shape the final product, the questions asked may be skewed and they can also be wrong.

    As a rule of thumb, Alford writes, the team at avoids polling coverage until the election season hits a sweet spot sometime between July 4 and Labor Day. By then, there’s usually enough polling from previous months to explore trends and averages.

    But should voters place much stock in polling? Are reporters giving the surveys too much attention?  

    Read Alford’s full column about polling and politics. 

    Jeremy Alford publishes LaPolitics Weekly, a newsletter on Louisiana politics, at Follow him on Twitter, or on Facebook. He can be reached at

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