Murphy’s approval ratings are slipping, but can we trust polls? (Opinion)
The majority of us trust polls even if we say we don’t. And pollsters know this. That’s why, even though political polling is far from an exact science and polling companies are aware of this, they continue to act as though all results are true predictors. Because there is a psychology to poll numbers.
Case in point: Insider NJ reports that a new Eagleton poll shows Gov. Murphy‘s ratings are slipping: 55% approve of the job he is doing (down from 62%), versus 40% who disapprove (up from 33%).
But here’s where the aforementioned poll psychology comes into play: It’s not about the accuracy of the numbers as much as it is about how those numbers make us FEEL. So if a renowned poll reports a 90% approval rating for a candidate, even if the number is wildly untrue, subconsciously it makes a lot of people feel differently about that candidate. And a headline that mentions his approval rating is slipping can also lower his approval rating in your mind.
Let’s face it. Approval ratings always go through the roof for governors in charge during an emergency. Same thing happened for Chris Christie after Superstorm Sandy. But now that the “emergency” is over, Murphy‘s approval ratings would naturally slip. But will the reporting of that decrease also aid the decline?
I’ve never known anyone who actually received a call asking them to be involved in a political poll, so I have absolutely no idea who answers these questions. But I never feel like the numbers add up. And history has shown us that polls are far from accurate.
I think it’s the psychology of polling and the REPORTING of the results—rather than the poll numbers themselves—that affect how people think and feel about a particular candidate. That effects which lever they pull. Although that may not work on you or me, it does work on a lot of the public, especially if those poll numbers are repeated over and over again.
Will a slight dip in approval ratings hurt Gov. Murphy‘s chances of being re-elected? Probably not. But will constant polling of slipping numbers—no matter how small the decreases—affect the election? Possibly. Especially with a strong opponent who stays the course and is true to his base. That’s Ciattarelli job.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi Franco’s own.