Tag Archives: polling

Pollsters deserve a break

Political polling organizations have been taking their lumps over the past several years from those who mistakenly — I believe — contend they are wrong far more than they are right.

Pollsters need some respect and I am about to give them some.

The major incident polling critics cite is the result of the 2016 presidential election. I truly beg to differ.

Let’s remember that polling outfits tracked the contest between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton hourly right to the end. Most of them placed Hillary Clinton marginally ahead of Trump in the final results released just before Election Day.

Clinton won the popular vote in 2016. Her margin of “victory”? 2.09% That matches just about what all the pollsters said would occur. They were right!

Except that the popular vote doesn’t elect presidents. That is done through the Electoral College and Trump managed to peel off at least three states that everyone thought would fall into Clinton’s vote ledger: Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Did those states’ results negate what the national polling said would occur? No. It meant only that Clinton’s team misjudged the level of support she and Trump had; they overplayed their own hand and low-balled Trump’s support.

The 2020 election also produced a result that pollsters said would occur. Joe Biden carried the day with a 4.46% popular vote margin over Trump. He also took back the three states I mentioned earlier to seal the victory.

Polling at times can be an inexact exercise. Respondents have been known to tell pollsters untruths when they are asked, “For whom will you vote for president?”

However, in the past two presidential election cycles, pollsters have gotten a bum rap. I want to stand with them.


Is he ‘best’ we can offer?

I happen to believe in public opinion political surveys, even if they produce results that confound me. I am no expert on polling, but I do know that the best surveys are done without bias and they seek to reach the broadest sample of respondents possible.

That all said, I am officially beyond all reason at surveys that continue to show Donald J. Trump to be Republicans’ favorite for the 2024 presidential nomination. Why the confusion, the bafflement, the dizzying emotions?

Allow me to list some aspects of The Donald’s life in and out of politics. To wit:

  • He has admitted to mauling women, to assaulting them sexually because of his “fame.”
  • While campaigning for president, he mocked a physically disabled New York Times reporter.
  • He denigrated a Gold Star family, whose son died in combat during the Iraq War; the family happens to be Muslim.
  • Trump also denigrated the late Sen. John McCain’s heroism during the Vietnam War because, he said, McCain was a “hero only because he was captured. I like people who aren’t captured, OK?”
  • He has admitted to cheating on his first two wives and was accused of taking part in a one-time tumble with a porn star shortly after his third wife gave birth to the couple’s son.
  • He claims to be a man of faith, but denies a basic Christian tenet of seeking forgiveness; he said he never has sought to be forgiven for any sin he has committed.
  • Trump told a former associate that anyone who served during the Vietnam War was “stupid,” because the war was so politically unpopular at home.
  • He cannot tell the truth; Trump lies about … everything.

I am likely missing something, but you get my drift, I am sure.

It is this, for those to whom I should explain: If we are going to insist on restoring American “greatness,” is this the man we should follow down that path? Does this individual appear to the best we have to offer?

No! A thousand times no! He embodies the worst among us and for that reason I am totally and completely baffled as to how this cult leader manages to hold such sway with so many Americans.

I am shaking my head in disbelief.


Polling data: What does it say?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Public opinion polling has been vilified over the course of recent election cycles, frankly for reasons that astound me.

Major public opinion polls actually had the 2016 presidential election called correctly when they had Hillary Clinton edging Donald Trump; they didn’t foresee the so-called “inside straight” that propelled Trump into the presidency on the basis of his narrow Electoral College victory.

They also called the 2020 presidential election correctly, giving Joe Biden a victory in both the ballot count and the Electoral College.

Still, the critics keep lambasting those polls.

Here we are today. President Biden pitched a massive COVID-19 relief bill that had significant public support. He got it enacted over the objection of every single Republican member of Congress … in both chambers!

Biden is back at it. He now has an even larger package on the table, a $2.25 trillion infrastructure reform package. The public response? Even greater than it was with the COVID relief package. The congressional Republican reaction? Precisely the same as the GOP resistance to lending a hand to those suffering from the economic wreckage brought by the pandemic.

Who, again, is on the right side?

It is looking to me as though the Republican congressional leadership and rank-and-file are not listening to the individuals they represent. They are ignoring the wishes of those who put them into office. The public favors rebuilding our roads, highways, bridges, ports (sea and air) and in buttressing our Internet broadband capability.

What’s going on here? Is the GOP political class listening exclusively to a narrow portion of its constituency? I am left to wonder if congressional Republicans will pay a political price when the midterm election rolls around next year.

They damn near should pay it!

Public opinion polling isn’t a perfect barometer of the national mood. However, it is far more accurate than its critics are wiling to admit. The GOP needs to pay attention.

Texas becomes battleground?

The national political media continue feed my heebie-jeebies.

They talk about Joe Biden’s national polling lead over Donald Trump. They suggest there might be a Democratic “tsunami” about to sweep Trump and many of his Republican congressional sycophants out of office in Washington.

Why, many commentators are looking at a recent Dallas Morning News/University of Texas-Tyler poll that puts the former vice president up by 5 percentage points over Trump. They use that poll result as evidence that Texas is about to cast its electoral votes for the first Democrat since Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Whoa, now! Let’s hold on. Let’s catch our breath.

I am not yet ready to toss Texas into the Democrats’ sack of political goodies. This is among the reddest Republican states in the country. Every statewide elected official here is a Republican. It’s been an all-R state since 1998. The state’s transition from overwhelming Democrat to Republican has been stunning in the speed with which it occurred.

Is Joe Biden the Democratic presidential candidate to carry Texas across a new threshold? Hmm. I have trouble believing it, although my heart wishes it would happen.

As the Dallas Morning News reported: “I really do think that Biden could win Texas, and I didn’t think that as recently as even a month ago. But the landscape has shifted so much,” said Nancy Beck Young, chair of the University of Houston history department and a scholar of Texas politics.

The Morning News poll does suggest that since Texas is being stricken so cruelly by the COVID crisis that Texans at this moment are enraged by Trump’s feckless and reckless response to the emergency. That well might be reflected in the polling results.

I think it’s fair to suggest, though, that if Biden somehow manages to win more votes than Trump in Texas then we are looking at an epic political landslide that will bury Trump. Moreover, if Biden falls short by just a little bit — say, 2 or 3 percentage points — then that, too, might portend a significant political defeat for Donald Trump nationally.

Still, the media keep fueling my nervousness. I get that’s the media’s job. It is to report the news and polling statistics that suggest a staggering defeat of the self-proclaimed “smartest man in human history” — or words to that effect — most certainly should get our attention.

Et tu, Fox News Channel?

You can quibble till the paint dries about the quality of Fox News Channel’s political coverage. I do on occasion. The network that calls itself “fair and balance” is neither of those things.

However, news hands at FNC are capable of doing good work. They conduct public opinion polling on occasion that raises an eyebrow or two, such as a recent poll showing how Donald Trump matches up against his Democratic opponents.

The most recent Fox poll shows the president, for instance, trailing former Vice President Joe Biden by a margin well outside the margin of error.

The president’s response? He went after the “friendly” network, suggesting it has gone to the dark side by casting him in a negative light. The poll has him “losing big to Sleepy Joe,” Trump said on Twitter.

Good grief, dude. Take a rest from the Twitter machine. I mean, you’ve got important work to do. You are seeking to make America great again, isn’t that right, Mr. President? These constant Twitter tirades make America laughable.

As for what the polls are saying more than a year away from the next election, I’ll answer with two words: President Dukakis.

In 1988, polling had the Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis about 17 points ahead of Vice President George H.W. Bush heading into that year’s election campaign season. The election, um, didn’t turn out that way … you know?

Don’t misunderstand me. I do not want Trump to turn those polls around. If anything, I hope whoever he faces next fall widens the gap and trounces the incumbent badly. He needs to back to … wherever.

So, the president needs to chill out. Get to work. Quit busying yourself with idiotic tweets and assorted blathering about polls with which you disagree.

Such ignorance about the First Amendment …

Here’s a bit of unsettling news: 44 percent of Republicans believe Donald Trump should have the authority to shutter news outlets for “bad behavior; what’s more, 12 percent of Democrats share that idiotic view.

The polling was done by Ipsos and it sends a chill up my spine. It should send tremors throughout the nation.

The president is angry with media outlets that report news he finds disagreeable. He has implied a desire to close them down if they continue to report completely the news about his administration.

Let me remind us all here about something that needs no reminder: The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the media from this kind of government interference, intimidation and intolerance.

It speaks to freedom of religion, political expression, peaceable assembly and a “free press.”

The First Amendment says Congress shall “make no law” that interferes with a free press. Period. End of story.

Yet nearly half of GOP voters and more than a tenth of Democrats think it’s OK for the president to coerce the media and shut ’em down if they p** him off.

Frightening, man.

Trump needs help coping with his delusion

Donald Trump’s delusion is well-chronicled.

He keeps touting all the “success” he has enjoyed since becoming president of the United States. Trump keeps lying about having passed more legislation than any president in history.

If matters were going as swimmingly as Trump keeps insisting, then I am forced to ask this fundamental question:

Why do polls keep showing a tangible, real distrust among Americans?

The RealClearPolitics average of polls now stands at 39.3 percent approval of the president; 56.2 percent of Americans polled disapprove of the way he is doing his job.

I mention the RCP poll average because of its reliability. It factors in all leading public opinion surveys and averages them out. As near as I can tell, 39.3 percent approval stinks.

If I were in Donald Trump’s shoes, I’d be mighty concerned about it. I also would exhibit a ton of reticence in talking about the phony success rates.

This guy doesn’t get any of it. He doesn’t know most Americans feel about him. Sure, he has his base. The diehard Trumpkins around the country are standing by their man. The president is feeding off of that and conflating their support for his policies with the national mood — which reality should tell him doesn’t reflect the infatuation of those among his political base.

Indeed, the president is delusional.

Obama’s poll numbers spiking in final days

I have a good time following certain public opinion polling sites, my favorite of which is the RealClearPolitics average of polls.

Here’s what it shows now about President Obama’s poll standing among Americans: The nation is falling back in love with the guy.

The average of polls shows Obama’s standing at 57 percent. There’s now an 18-percentage-point spread between the “favorable” and “unfavorable” ratings.


How does the poll average rate Congress? It’s about 14 percent. Interesting, yes?

Why the poll spike for the president? It might have something to do with how voters view him in relation to the man who will succeed him in just a couple of days.

He’s conducting himself with remarkable calm, grace, dignity. Donald J. Trump, meanwhile, is continuing to lash out at his foes, the media, almost anyone who makes a critical statement.

What’s not to admire about a president who is leaving the stage with such style?

Polling put to a new kind of test this election cycle


The media obsession with polls, “horse races” and determining who’s up and/or down continues.

The Hill has given us the latest read on how this presidential campaign will turn out.

The conclusion? Polling data may be skewed beyond all recognition because of the high unfavorable ratings of both major-party nominees-to-be.


The pollsters are having difficulty taking their findings to the bank. Republican presumptive nominee Donald J. Trump’s favorable ratings are in the tank; Democratic frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton’s plus-side scores are right behind Trump’s.

Voters’ fickleness puts more guesswork into the polling, according to The Hill.

Will it be a high-turnout or low-turnout election? My own guess is that it’ll be the latter. Voters might decide the choices between the major-party picks are so dismal that they’ll just sit it out. They might not want to consider a third option because that ticket has no chance of winning.

Then again …

Some pollsters think the turnout will be high as voters are motivated to vote against the other candidate.

The anti-Clinton voter bloc will be set to vote for Trump. And vice versa.

All of this seems to be the ingredients tailor-made for a patently miserable campaign.

Hey, hasn’t Trump himself declared he has no intention to “change”?

My fellow Americans … we are in for a rough ride to the finish line.


Gov. Kasich faces a bitter irony


John Kasich must feel like the unluckiest politician in America.

He’s caught in perhaps the most bitter irony in recent political history.

The Ohio governor is running for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. He’s one of three men still standing in what began as a 17-candidate GOP primary free-for-all.

Given that we’ve been talking — a lot! — about public opinion polling in this presidential campaign, it’s good to mention this: Kasich stands alone among the three men still running as the only candidate who can defeat probable Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton. Donald Trump loses big to Clinton; so does Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Why, then, does Gov. Kasich still struggle as the longest shot of all the GOP candidates who will become the party’s presidential nominee this summer?

The Republican base has endorsed Trump and Cruz in all those primaries and caucuses. Kasich has won exactly one contest: in Ohio, the state he governs. Hey, man, he had to win that one, right?

I’ve heard pundit after pundit, voter after voter say the same thing: Gov. Kasich is the last grown-up in this race.

Trump and Cruz are despised by the Republican establishment for varying reasons. Trump lacks a governing philosophy; Cruz seems to have virtually no friends in the U.S. Senate, where he has served since January 2013.

It appears, though, that one of those two individuals is going to carry the GOP banner into the fall against Clinton. Those polls? They keep showing they’ll lose. Maybe by a lot.

Kasich continues to poll far better vs. Clinton than either of them.

He also continues to lag far behind in the Republican Party polls of primary voters.

Poor guy. I feel sorry for Gov. Kasich.