Re: As Liberal Party of Old would have told you
Actually your right in your comparison of pollsters to economists. Both are unfairly maligned and have their results misused by everyone else. Only to have those same people complain when the results they failed to bother to understand turned out never to have been saying what they thought they did.
So both polling and economics are inexact sciences - requiring good use of statistics but also a lot of judgement in how to use them. In a world when good statistics don't actually exist because they're too expensive, and often literally impossible, to gather accurately. Also the stats are usually out of date when you get them, meaning you're trying to forecast the future when you don't even have the information to know what's happening in the present - only the past.
Oh and proper scientific testing is impossible, without access to a parallel universe.
If you're careful, both economics and polling can tell you useful things. But you must know the limitations of both.
Journalists will ignore all the caveats, then complain when the stuff they were told about and ignored, happens.
If you compare the errors in everyday polling to the high levels of accuracy of the exit poll and the British Election Survey and British Attitudes Survey, you'll understant what can be achieved with the right resources.
The BES for example got the result of the 2015 election broadly correct. Now admittedly it was done after the election, but when the pollsters re-contacted their samples after the election they still got the wrong results. Showing they had a sampling error problem, not a people lying to them problem.
However, the BES knocks on people's doors. Semi-random houses picked to give good demographic coverage. When they first knocked on the door, they also got the result wrong, as crudely most of the Conservative voters were out. But they went back up to seven times, until they got to speak to the person from the electoral roll they were after. Something pollsters can't afford to do.
I suppose Lord Ashcroft could, as he's a billionaire who's interested in polling. But it would make a significant dent in even his cash to do it regularly.