Today’s Campaign Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)
Democrats – if they didn’t exist, no one in their right mind would dream of making them up. – In an interview on Monday, San Fran Nan said she agrees that, where the Democrats are concerned, “it’s time for new blood and we should move on.” That’s the good part. But in her next breath, she promised to continuing clinging to power so long as Donald Trump is President: “to have no woman at the table and to have the Affordable Care Act at risk, I said, ‘As long as he’s here, I’m here.”
Republicans everywhere popped open the champagne at the prospect of continuing to have the past and possibly future Speaker of the House as fodder for their campaign ads.
Hey, if he won’t get down into the ’30s on his own, we’ll just put him there. – The fake news hacks at CNN loudly trumpeted their new “poll” on Monday, a “poll” which purports to show President Trump’s public approval rating at just 38%. That all looks pretty disturbing for the President until you look into the bowels of how the “poll” was conducted and realize that it included just 25% Republicans in its sample of self-described “registered voters.”
Had the poll instead included around 34-35% Republicans, which is what it should have done, its result most likely would have shown the President’s approval at about 42-43%, which is pretty much where other polls of registered voters are putting it these days. Meanwhile, the most accurate poll during 2016, Rassmussen, which is also the only poll taking the time and effort to survey “likely” voters, pegs Mr. Trump’s approval rating at 48%.
Thus, what we clearly have with the CNN poll was yet another example of a fake news organization dummying up some more fake news on what was otherwise a fairly slow news day. Sadly typical.
But CNN’s not alone. We saw ABC and the Washington Post issue a similarly faked-up poll on the generic congressional preference question at the end of August. This poll pretended to find that the Democrats suddenly had a 14-point lead among registered voters on that question. Really? Can that be right?
Well, given that other recent polls of registered voters (Economist/Yougov and Reuters/Ipsos) pegged the Democrat edge at 9 and 5 points, probably not. Then when you consider that the two recent polls on this question that look at “likely voters” (Rasmussen and Grinnell/Selzer) show the Democrat edge barely present at 4 and 2 points, the ABC/WaPo poll becomes a clear outlier.
A real polling organization, when its “sample” (assuming there really was a sample) produces a result so clearly outside of any notion of reasonableness, might be expected to take a second look at things before rushing to publish. But ABC/WaPo and CNN are not real polling organizations – they are ostensibly “news” organizations, and they unfortunately seem to produce these polls in an effort to manufacture news, not to truly inform the public.
You may remember that ABC/WaPo are also the same two media organizations that dummied up a poll just two weeks prior to Election Day 2016 that pretended to show Hillary Clinton holding a 13-point lead over Donald Trump. When even the Nate Silvers and New York Times‘s of the world guffawed at that silly result, I predicted what its new margin would be each and every day over the next ten days, and got it on the nose every day but one as the fake poll’s margin very predictably narrowed to within its margin of error the Friday before the votes were cast. I was able to do that because the poll’s results were pretty clearly tailored to make news, not to accurately gauge the state of the race.
The thing about polls these days is that the legitimate polling organizations continue to struggle with how to actually obtain a decent sample that really is reflective of society at large. Some of these groups, like Rasmussen, appear to have a pretty good handle on things, and some of them keep monkeying around with their methodologies. The one disturbing generic congressional ballot poll by a legitimate organization recently is the one by Emerson College last week that arrived at a 13-point edge for the Democrats.
Emerson describes its methodology as follows:
“The sample consisted of registered voters, n=1,000, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3.2 percentage points. The data was weighted by ethnicity, age, party affiliation, region and mode. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, party breakdown, ethnicity and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using both an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines only (n=500) and an online panel provided by Survey Monkey (n=500).”
Who knows if that convoluted method renders a result that can be trusted? Then again, after the absurdity of the polling results in 2016, it’s an open question whether any of these poll results really produce anything worth reading, other than providing, on average, some general trend.
Right now, the trends are a) President Trump’s public approval rating is right where it has been throughout this entire year, and b) the Democrats have a modest edge in the generic ballot question, but not a big enough edge that would produce their much-coveted “blue wave” come November.
The Campaign Update told you way back in December that there would be no “blue wave” in this election, and nothing that has happened since that time has changed that general outlook. Lots can happen in the 8 weeks remaining until Election Day, but the reality is that public attitudes appear to be pretty much set.
All of which means that we should expect the Republicans to pick up somewhere between 2-5 net seats in the U.S. Senate, and the Democrats to gain seats in the House, but not enough to saddle the nation with San Fran Nan as Speaker of the House one more time.
Just another day in just ignore all the fake polls America.
That is all.
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