Tag Archives: polling

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.


Speaking of polls, take a look at this


Now that public opinion polls have become a staple of American political coverage, it’s good to look at the latest survey of Americans’ views of the job the president is doing.

RealClearPolitics posts a national average of polls daily.

The numbers are instructive.

President Obama now stands at 2.7 percent approval-over-disapproval in the average of polls that RCP posts.

Why is this important? It’s important because most of the remaining candidates for president — Republican and Democrat — keep talking about polls and their relative standing among them.

Donald J. Trump bellows constantly when the polls show him beating fellow Republicans Ted Cruz or John Kasich. Cruz counters with favorable poll reports when they suit his cause. Kasich keeps saying the polls show him as the only GOP candidate who can beat Hillary Clinton.

Oh yes. Bernie Sanders keeps talking about the polls that show him “closing the gap” for the Democratic nomination with Clinton.

Polls, polls, polls …

Remember when pols said “the only poll that counts is on Election Day”? Not only longer. They keep yapping about the polls and the media keep reporting it.

Thus, they have become important.

Back to the RCP poll average.

President Obama’s poll ratings had been in the tank for most of his second term. They weren’t necessarily horrible; just flat, lingering in the mid-40 percent range. What’s most interesting is that his favorable ratings were usually significantly less than his unfavorable ratings.

Today, though, it’s different. His favorability rating, according to the RCP average, stands at 49 percent, nearly 3 percent greater than his unfavorable rating.

Two more quick points.

One is that the RCP average takes into account all the major polling results done. Conservative polling outfits are measured, along with liberal polling companies. They’re tossed in altogether and you get the average of all the polls.

The second point is that RCP’s average of polls about the job Congress is doing shows a 14 percent job approval rating.



Candidates looking like horses

horse race

Democrats’ symbol is the donkey.

Republicans’ is the elephant.

Both beasts are looking more like horses, especially as pundits discuss the upcoming 2016 presidential political campaign.

Since most of the chatter is on the GOP side, let’s focus on that one.

How much do we really know about all 16 people who are seeking the Republican nomination? My hunch is not much … at all, if anything. No, we’ve been hearing a lot about polls. Who’s up? Who’s down? Who’s on the move — up or down? What happened to the formerly formidable candidates? How can they get themselves back up again?

Horse-race politics is back with a vengeance.

We keep hearing about it and about how much of a negative influence it has on the nature of the campaign to become leader of the Free World, commander in chief of the greatest military in world history, chief executive of the federal government — all that stuff.

We get fixated on the leaders. Can they keep their lead?

Then we zero in on the statements they make in order to become one of the leaders. That’s been at the top of the discussion list of late. I admit to joining that pack. I’m not proud of it. I’ll try to mend my ways.

But the commentary today must focus on why the media keep covering these campaigns as if they’re races to the finish line.

I’ll blame two of the major news networks for feeding the 2016 version of this frenzy. Fox and CNN are going to be hosts for the first two GOP joint appearances. They set down some ground rules that include poll-driven data: Only the top dogs are allowed.

Don’t all the candidates deserve to be heard? Don’t all of them have something of value to say? Aren’t the media obligated to give them all a chance to state their case before as many people as possible?

Isn’t that what our political system is supposed to foster, a free exchange among all the individuals running for the most important political office in the land — if not on the planet?

That’s not happening. We’re focusing instead on the horse race, which has been the norm of political coverage perhaps since the advent of television as a major information source.

I want to hear more from and about the candidates and how each of them intends to fight the war against terror, keep the country’s economy moving forward … you know, the stuff that matters.

The sound bites that seek to elevate candidates’ polling standing? The analysis from the talking heads about whether so-and-so will be in the debate based on his or her polling?

Honestly, I find it boring to the max.

I might need to take a vow to ignore the polls and concentrate on the policy statements. I now will ponder precisely that. I’ll get back to you.