(STUDY FINDS) -- ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The 2020 presidential election is less than a year away, and pollsters are already out in full force attempting to gauge voters’ preferences heading into next fall. The legitimacy of pre-election polling is often questioned by voters and pundits alike, and a new study finds that most people’s views on a particular poll’s credibility ultimately comes down to whether or not they like what they see.
Researchers from the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania say that voters tend to find polls more credible when their preferred candidate is leading. The study also found that more clearly stating and visualizing a poll’s methodology may prove beneficial in mitigating voters’ initial biases.
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“On a number of fronts, it is clear that people believe what they want to believe,” says Josh Pasek, associate professor of communication and media at U-M, in a media release. “It’s depressing, but not really surprising, that they are willing to cherry pick which polls to trust in ways that support the narrative they want to hear.”