On June 23, the people of Britain will decide whether the United Kingdom should withdraw from the European Union. It’s a question that hasn’t been up for debate since 1975, when a similar issue was brought before voters.

If you were to consult online polling data, you’d think the referendum is a dead heat. Back in late May, prominent U.K. pollster ICM showed that people were evenly divided, with those wanting “out” and those wanting “in” each hovering at 45 percent. But phone polls and pundits offer a much different forecast.

The discrepancy leads some people to toss out polling data altogether. If it can’t provide a true picture of public sentiment, then why even bother gathering it? But nothing could be further from the truth. When it comes to polling, it’s not about the data itself but about how you capture and interpret the data.

 

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