Posts Tagged ‘Political polls’

Why were the polls so wrong?

November 6, 2020

The polls are wrong because (1) most people aren’t interested in talking to pollsters and (2) the ones who do respond aren’t a cross-section of the public, partly because (3) educated Trump supporters often lie about their preferences.


Is the Era of Polling Over? by Kevin Drum for Mother Jones.

Who are the real Shy Trumpers? by Eric Kaufmann for UnHerd.

Voters divide on issues mostly along party lines

April 4, 2016


I think the current crisis of American politics is the inability to fit three radically different political movements—for change in our capitalist system (Bernie Sanders), for change in our democratic system (Donald Trump, Ted Cruz) and defenders of the status quo (Hillary Clinton, John Kasich).

Evidently voters see things differently.  Recent Pew Research polls, summarized in the chart above, show that the opinions of American voters on most issues are divided very clearly along party lines.

I was surprised that fewer Sanders supporters said they are angry at the government than are supporters of any of the Republican candidates.

I was not surprised that Trump supporters are more united in opposition to free trade than supporters of any other faction, but I was surprised that Sanders supporters favor free trade in almost the same numbers as Clinton supporters.

The only big difference among the candidates that overlaps party lines is that more Sanders and Trump supporters think that U.S. global involvement makes things worse than Clinton, Cruz or Kasich supporters do.


Polls show Sanders as stronger Dem candidate

March 6, 2016




Donald Trump may have an overwhelming lead in television coverage, but Bernie Sanders is ahead in major public opinion polls.

A compendium of recent polls by Real Clear Politics indicates

  • Sanders leads Trump, 49.8 percent to 41.8 percent.
  • Sanders leads Ted Cruz, 50 percent to 40.3 percent
  • Hillary Clinton leads Trump by only 45.4 percent to 42 percent.
  • Clinton trails Cruz 45 percent to 46 percent.

It’s way too soon to count Sanders out.


General Election: Trump vs. Sanders by Real Clear Politics.

General Election: Trump vs. Clinton by Real Clear Politics.

General Election: Cruz vs. Sanders by Real Clear Politics.

General Election: Cruz vs. Clinton by Real Clear Politics.

Can Hillary Clinton Beat Donald Trump? A Preliminary Look by Gaius Publius for Down With Tyranny!  [added 3/8/2016]


What’s wrong with this picture?

December 17, 2015

pollsandersclinton12346429_10205252351251720_455515267058200796_nHat tip to Avedon’s Sideshow.

TV news coverage ignores Sanders, puffs Trump

December 17, 2015

Public opinion polls show Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders with roughly equivalent public support.  Yet Trump dominates TV news coverage while Sanders is hardly even noticed.

Eric Boehlert of Media Matters quoted these results from a survey called the Tyndall Report.

The network newscasts are wildly overplaying Trump, who regularly attracts between 20-30 percent of primary voter support, while at the same time wildly underplaying Sanders, who regularly attracts between 20-30 percent of primary voter support. [snip]

Obviously, Trump is the GOP frontrunner and it’s reasonable that he would get more attention than Sanders, who’s running second for the Democrats.  But 234 total network minutes for Trump compared to just 10 network minutes for Sanders, as the Tyndall Report found?

Andrew Tyndall provided the breakdown by network of Sanders’ 10 minutes of coverage, via email … :

  • CBS Evening News: 6.4 minutes
  • NBC Nightly News: 2.9 minutes
  • ABC World News: 0.3 minutes

But how can that be?  ABC News, for instance, clearly devoted more than 20 seconds to covering the Democratic debates, which featured news of Sanders, right?

As Tyndall explained to me, the number “counts stories filed about the Sanders campaign or from the Sanders campaign.  Obviously he is mentioned in passing in other coverage of the Democratic field overall, specifically his performance in the debates.”

So in terms of stand-alone campaign stories this year, it’s been 234 minutes for Trump, compared to 10 minutes for Sanders.  And at ABC World News Tonight, it’s been 81 minutes for Trump and less than one minute for Sanders.


Election 2016: Hillary Clinton’s head start

April 20, 2015

This chart, despite its headline, is good news for Hillary Clinton.


True, she is a controversial character.  About 48 percent of those polled look on her favorably and 45 percent unfavorably.   But she has a better favorability rating than any of the plausible Republican candidates, especially Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Chris Christie.

She also is a superstar.  Almost as many people recognize her name as recognize the name of the sitting President of the United States.  No Republican candidate is anywhere near as well known as she is.


Nate Silver and the triumph of fact

November 13, 2012

One of the big winners in the 2012 national election is Nate Silver, a statistician-blogger who predicted President Obama’s election victory.  He called every state correctly and predicted the margin of the popular vote correctly, while better-known pundits, especially on the Republican side, were embarrassingly wrong.   He was subject to personal abuse as well as accusations of left-wing bias from readers who forgot that he predicted the Republican comeback in Congress correctly in 2010.

natesilverforecast2012He was lucky as well as right.  Based on the odds that Silver himself quoted, it wouldn’t have been surprising or discrediting if one of the swing states had gone otherwise than as he predicted.  But he certainly deserves his success and acclaim, for basing his conclusions on fact and logic rather than intuition and wishful thinking.

I’m not surprised that Silver got his start as an analyst of baseball statistics.  I think that on the average daily newspaper, sports writers and their readers have a more sophisticated understanding of statistics than political and business writers do.

Click on Nate Silver wiki for his biography, including his background as a baseball statistician and how during one period of his life he supported himself playing on-line poker.   If you read it, you’ll better appreciate the following comments by Bob Lefsetz on The Big Picture web log on the lessons of Nate Silver’s career success.


Poll watching

November 6, 2012


Click on xkcd for more cartoons.

Hat tip to Unqualified Offerings.

Why President Obama could lose in 2012

June 12, 2011

ABC-Washington Post poll June 7. Click to view.

In 1980, candidate Ronald Reagan asked the question, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” and defeated incumbent President Jimmy Carter.  In 1992, candidate Bill Clinton reminded himself, “It’s the economy, stupid,” and unseated incumbent President George H.W. Bush.

I’m not so foolish as to try to predict the outcome of the 2012 election.  Many things could happen in the next 17 months.  But right now the United States is in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and there is no reason to think things will be much better anytime soon.

The Democrats’ best hope is that the Republicans will nominate Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman or some other candidate whose appeal is limited to Fox News fans and Tea Party activists, and campaign on Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposals to voucherize Medicare and privatize Social Security.

The Republicans, however, may not cooperate.  I expect them to nominate Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty or some other Republican governor with a solid record, and keep the focus on the economy.  I do not think the Republicans have any good ideas of how to turn things around, but neither do the Democrats, and the Democrats, as incumbents, get the praise and the blame for how things are.

Now President Obama could make the argument that things would be even worse if John McCain had been elected.  He could make the argument that he could have done more except for Republican obstruction in Congress.  Those arguments might have some weight if he were fighting for a program to make things better – a public works program to repair the crumbling U.S. infrastructure, say, or the “cramdown” plan to allow U.S. bankruptcy courts to help restructure mortgages.  But the only things he has fought for were the second TARP bailout and reappointment of Ben Bernanke as chair of the Federal Reserve Board.

I don’t think the American voting public has confidence in either the Democrats or the Republicans.  The Democratic upsurge in 2006 and 2008 reflected discontent with President George W. Bush; the Republican upsurge in 2010 reflected discontent with President Obama.  Each party in turn is being given an opportunity to get the country moving again, but neither party will get an electoral majority unless they make good use of the opportunity.