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Professor explains why polls show different results

There is less than a month left before the election that will decide the Texas Senate race between Congressman Beto O’Rourke and incumbent Senator Ted Cruz.

In the weeks leading up to election day, various polls have been released showing the close race.

Last month, two polls released contradicted who exactly was in the lead at the time.

A Reuters poll showed O’Rourke with a two-point lead, but a Quinnipiac University poll said Cruz led O’Rourke by nine percentage points. Both polls asked likely voters.

ABC-7 talked to political science associate professor Dr. Todd Curry about the results of polls and which ones should voters believe.

Curry said different polling companies use their own methods, which leads to varying results.

“The way polling companies ask questions and who they ask can differ from company to company. They will gather samples in a different way so that will affect the outcome in terms of number spread,” Curry said.

Polls that ask likely voters instead of registered voters will give a more accurate determination of voter turnout, according to Curry.

“Likely voters are those who showed up at the poll between two to three times in the last election, so these are individuals who regularly show up to the poll,” Curry said.

Curry said what is concerning is just how honest voters are when they are questioned about their candidate choices.

“I think polls are 100 percent scientific. The problem is, I’m not entirely sure the individuals who are responding to them are representative of the populous.”

Curry said people may lie because they don’t want to tell what they truly believe or because they don’t have a real opinion.

The UTEP professor said sampling voters has also become a challenge.

“With the death of (phone) landlines, the ability to do random digit dialing has gone away.”

In Texas, Tuesday is the last day to register to vote for the midterm election.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 6.

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