The Biggest Logical Fallacy with Most Poll-Driven Groups

I don't know about you, but if you have ever decided to go on a road trip and you are trying to make up your mind as a group regarding the itinerary of your trip, it's like herding cats. Seriously. It's like pulling teeth.

People have all sorts of ideas. People have all sorts of inclinations. People have all sorts of biases. And guess what? This makes for a tremendously chaotic process.

The reason for this is because of the fact that we're all different. We look at the world differently. A lot of us come from different backgrounds, we have different families, and we have different experiences. All these small differences definitely add up.

While we may look physically similar to each other, these differences send us on many different trajectories. And these small changes in trajectories at the beginning, actually become greater and greater as time goes by.

That's why, given this reality, there is this fallacy that poll-driven groups somehow, some way, nail reality at the time that that poll was taken. And a lot of people who otherwise know better, would then try to extrapolate from this to get educated guesses regarding what will happen later on.

Enough Vote to Get to the Matter

One of the biggest problems with Luntz-speak is the idea that if you have enough focus groups and if you have enough polls, you will get to the heart of the matter. Eventually, you will get to the truth.

I can see why people have fallen in love with this because it gives them some sort of control. It gives them the idea that there is some sort of scientific process to actually getting people's real sentiments.

This is too much of an assumption to make. It really is. Because you have to understand that people have fast changing attitudes.

Whatever hot button topic you think of, maybe it's gay marriage, abortion, trade, income inequality or what have you, it's easy to think that just because it was polled a certain way, that this is the long-standing trajectory. That once we have made that turn or once we have reached some sort of tipping point, then it's only a matter of time until we go to an extreme case.

It doesn't work that way. In fact, you don't even have to be an American for you to see this.

There is some sort of pendulum that swings and that there's only so much leeway it can give you. There's only so much statistical guessing space that you are afforded. Other than that, you have to focus on changing attitudes.

Because a lot of people are under the impression that once a large population has some sort of attitude, and it can be measured sustainably over a long period of time, that it's never going to change.

It doesn't work that way. In many cases, attitudes change overnight. It's like a car turning on a dime. That's how crazy these changes can be.

So do yourself a big favor, don't be taken in by poll-driven groups. There's a lot going on beneath the surface.