The Onion provides a step-by-step guide to the U.S. political polling process.

  • Step 1: Researchers begin by dialing every possible U.S. phone number combination, starting with (111) 111-1111
  • Step 2: Dinner interrupted
  • Step 3: Pollster asks to speak with the member of the household who best represents the nation as a whole
  • Step 4: Respondent selects poll difficulty level of “easy,” “medium,” or “hard”
  • Step 5: Thousands of poll respondents hearing candidates’ names for the very first time asked to make rational judgment about which one is better
  • Step 6: Pollsters listen for key epithets in voter’s rant to determine stance on immigration
  • Step 7: Pollster, respondent both silently wonder whether great cold-call conversation could blossom into something more
  • Step 8: Voters who are identified as undecided are forced to stay on the line until they make up their minds
  • Step 9: Pollster calls ex and remains totally silent when they pick up, just listening to the sound of their voice for a few precious moments before hanging up
  • Step 10: Poll’s margin of error determined by asking pollster how good a job they think they did
  • Step 11: Color palette for pie chart selected
  • Step 12: Statisticians explain why polling data was so flawed and inaccurate after election results come in

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