The volume of polling material in modern election campaigns is staggering

Line up with your reading of the opinion polls. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

In the six-week period of Australia’s 2013 federal election campaign, there were more than 100 published polls. They were coming at voters at an average of more than three a day.

The deluge is summarised in a table produced by respected political researcher Murray Goot and published on Business Insider today as part of a column by Malcolm Turnbull’s pollster, Mark Textor.

Here’s the table again recapping all the polls published in the last campaign:

This deluge of information provides a huge number of talking points for us in the media – who is in front, who has momentum – but typically, it doesn’t really say much about why voters might be moving in a particular direction and what issues are affecting their thinking.

Naturally Textor has an interest in questioning the validity of published polling, because his business is built on deep insights on public opinion. But as a smart young professional who is engaged with politics and well capable of grappling with complexity said to me today on barrage of polling commentary: “I’m so over all this s–t … you get lost on what you’re actually supposed to be focusing on.”

This is, I suspect, not an uncommon sentiment.

There are 36 days left in this campaign. If the past election is any guide, we can expect around 100 polls in that time. Strap in.

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