A University of Northern Iowa professor who teaches a class about public opinion and voter behavior says voter turnout can be influenced by the daily drip of polling data. If voters see polls that indicate a close race, U-N-I professor Justin Holmes says that can “stimulate” turnout.

“If you have a poll that basically shows a tie, then voters are going to be more apt to think that their vote matters,” Holmes says. However, Holmes says partisans sometimes dismiss polls that don’t confirm their beliefs about the presidential race.

“That said, at least the major pollsters do a pretty good job when all is said and done,” Holmes says. “I don’t have any reason to believe this is anything other than a tight race right now.” Even trained poll-readers like Holmes have had a hard time keeping up with polls.

“One of the things I’ve been struck by this time really is how many polls there are,” he says. “I’ve never seen this many…and it can be a little bit daunting to try and make heads or tails of it.” Holmes dismisses the idea pollsters are “out to cook the books” to favor one candidate over another, as the polling firm’s future business depends on perceptions of its accuracy.