Tag Archives: polls

Polls are useless this far out from Election Day

I am going to breathe a heavy sigh as I write these next few sentences.

I heard today that Joseph R. Biden Jr. leads Donald J. Trump Sr. by 13 percentage points, according to a Quinnipiac University public opinion poll. The media have exploded over those findings. They say the poll results point to potentially serious trouble for the president if former Vice President Biden emerges as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee in 2020.

Allow me to state the obvious: Any poll this far away from Election Day does not mean a single thing. Nothing, man! Zero.

Must we be reminded that Donald Trump was seen as a novelty candidate when he declared his presidential candidacy in the summer of 2015? No one took this TV celebrity/real estate mogul seriously.

We take him seriously now, at least in terms of his standing as the president of the United States of America.

Do I want him to lose the 2020 election? Well, yeah! I do! I intend to use this blog as a forum to seek his ouster as president no later than Election Day 2020.

However, the polling that’s being kicked around a year and a half from the next election shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Talk to me, pollsters and pundits, next spring. Or maybe next summer. Then I’ll pay attention to the polls.

Trump polls are up? We’ll never hear the end of it

CBS News is about to join Fox News as a news outlet that Donald J. Trump won’t label as a “fake news” purveyor.

A new CBS poll shows the president’s poll numbers rising. Indeed, in New Hampshire — the state that conducts the nation’s first presidential primary election every four years — Trump trounces Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Arizona U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, two men who are thought to be considering a challenge of their fellow Republican.

As CBS News reports: Republican voters have had two years of watching Trump as a candidate and president and husband and Twitterer and embarrassing, tantrum-throwing child and—to their credit or shame—they’ve decided to stick with him. It truly is Trump’s party, and every other Republican is just renting space.

So unless Robert Mueller drags him out of the Oval Office by his artificially-golden locks, Trump will be on top of the ticket in 2020.

My hope all along has been that Democrats need to find a new face, a candidate with a new approach and ideas and someone who at this moment isn’t on most people’s radar. Democrats aren’t listening to little ol’ me, according to CBS: And what are the Democrats giving him? Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Oh, and Nancy Pelosi just promised “I’m not going anywhere,” while Congressional Democrats are debating what they want to do first once they take back the House: Impeach Donald Trump, or pass new gun control laws?

By every historic measure, President Trump should be the Walking Dead of American politics. But put him up against a Democratic campaign of “Pelosi, Pocahontas and Impeachment!” and he may walk right back into the White House.

I’ll concede the president’s uptick in the polls. But no one is asking me what I think.

Whatever fate awaits the president if he is able to finish his term, any effort by him to win a second term in the White House will never include a vote from yours truly.

Polls: They’re up, then they’re down, then they’re up again


The political media have this fascination with polling while covering the Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump race for the presidency.

It all has given me reason to wonder: How do these polls fluctuate so dramatically so late in this campaign?


The Hill reports that Democratic nominee Clinton is now regaining her political footing. Trump, the Republican nominee, had a disastrous week and he’s got seven days to prepare for the next joint appearance with Clinton.

Polls in several swing states are now showing Clinton with an advantage where two weeks ago Trump held a slight lead. Florida now tilts toward Clinton; same for Nevada; Ohio is now a dead heat; Pennsylvania is leaning in Clinton’s direction — again!

We’ve known about Hillary Clinton for the past 20-plus years. It would seem that voters’ minds are made up. Trump? Well, he’s quite the “known quantity” too, but for entirely different reasons. Americans know him through his reality-TV exposure and his flamboyant reputation as a real estate mogul and, dare I say it, a bon vivant.

But the polls go up. Then they go down. Then they go back up again.

Many Americans can’t seem to make up their minds.

I hate to think we have become a nation of wishy-washy fence-straddlers.

‘Undercover voter’ equals ‘shamed voter’

Kellyanne Conway, new campaign manager for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, speaks to reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Kellyanne Conway earned her chops as a pollster and spinmeister.

Consider, then, what Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump’s new campaign manager has said.

It is that polls would show Trump doing better if “undercover voters” would reveal to pollsters that they are voting for her guy.

I’m trying to understand what she’s saying here.

I think that she’s suggesting that Trump’s millions of voters are too ashamed to admit out loud to strangers that they’re planning to vote this fellow.

Am I mistaken? Is that what “undercover voter” means?

If you’re committed to a candidate for high public office and someone calls you to conduct a public opinion survey, it would follow — normally, I guess — that you would be unafraid to tell the pollster how you think about an upcoming election.

Trump’s supporters, according to Conway, are keeping their thoughts to themselves.

Someone explain that one to me.




Polls go up, they’re good; they go down, they’re ‘rigged’


Donald J. Trump has made quite a show of trumpeting his “great” poll numbers while rolling to the Republican Party presidential nomination.

Indeed, the real estate mogul’s main selling point for months has been those polls. They’re up, therefore they’re legit.

But wait! The polls lately are trending in another direction.

Hillary Rodham Clinton has retaken the lead over Trump in their campaign for the presidency. The Democratic nominee has gotten an expected “bounce” from her highly successful convention.

Trump’s view of polls now?

They’re “rigged,” he says. He doesn’t believe them. CNN and some other media organizations are cooking the numbers to show Clinton with a phony lead, Trump says.

OK, then.

Let’s just shield Trump from all the bad news that inevitably will come his way, just as it flows toward Clinton when things don’t always go in the direction she prefers.

As for his fixation only with positive poll numbers and his outright rejection of those surveys that show him down against his opponent, I have just a simple piece of advice.

Suck it up, soldier! The only “poll” that counts is the one on Election Day. Then again, my gut tells me the GOP nominee is going to get another dose of very bad news when that day arrives.

Election will be decided by the Battle of the Bounces

WATERLOO, IA - SEPTEMBER 27: Voting booths are set up for early voting at the Black Hawk County Courthouse on September 27, 2012 in Waterloo, Iowa. Early voting starts today in Iowa where in the 2008 election 36 percent of voters cast an early ballot.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Donald J. Trump got a “bounce” out of the Republican National Convention this past week.

The RealClearPolitics average of polls tells us that Trump is in the lead by a little bit.

This week, it’s the Democrats’ turn and that party’s nominee, Hillary Rodham Clinton, figures to get a bounce from the convention that has nominated her.

The question then becomes: Whose bounce will be greater?

Followed by this question: Will the candidate with the bigger bounce be able to sustain it until Nov. 8?

From my perch here in the middle of Flyover Country — in the most Republican region of arguably the most Republican state in the country — my gut is telling me Clinton’s bounce will be significant once the Democratic convention is gaveled to a close.

Sure, we’ve got two more days to go before the end of this phase of the presidential election campaign. Anything can happen, I suppose.

Remember, too, that this is the most unconventional election season in anyone’s memory — as Donald Trump’s nomination by the GOP illustrates so dramatically.

Let’s just follow the bounce.

What will the polls tell us?


Donald J. Trump has campaigned for the presidency while touting his standing in public opinion polls.

The media have followed his lead, reporting incessantly about his poll standing also while reporting on Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton’s poll standing as well.

Against that backdrop, I’ll offer this little bit of theory.

Whatever public opinion poll “bounce” that Trump gets from the Republican National Convention will be minimized almost immediately when the Democrats stage their convention … next week.

It’s a bit of an unusual juxtaposition, with the parties convening their conventions so close to each other.

The GOP convention got off to a raucous start today over some rules changes affecting delegate commitments, but it is concluding its first day tonight with the usual rah-rah one expects at these events.

Melania Trump delivered a fine speech supporting her husband; former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani fired the delegates up with his brand of fire and brimstone; the mother of the Benghazi victim hit Clinton hard.

Some polls are going to reflect positively for Trump once he received his party’s nomination.

Then the Democrats open their convention next week and we’re going to see the tables turned. Democrats will trot out all their applause lines, just as the Republicans have done today and will continue through the rest of the week.

The question then becomes: Will the Democrats or Republicans receive the bigger bounce once both conventions are adjourned?

My strong hunch is that the amount of whatever polling lift comes to Trump will depend to a h-u-u-u-u-g-e degree on the acceptance speech the nominee delivers.

Let the horse-race … coverage … continue


If you thought the media have done a terrible job of reporting on politics and policy — relying too heavily on polls — get ready for what’s to come.

The coverage is going to get worse.

The upcoming presidential campaign between Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Donald J. Trump is going to fill us to the brim with news about the “horse race.”

We’re going to be listening to evening news reports that will begin with coverage of the latest polls.

Trump has fed that narrative repeatedly during his amazing — and stunningly surprising — march to the GOP nomination. He takes the podium and blusters about his standing in the polls. The media cover it. Why? Because the public wants it.

Trump dismisses polls that show him trailing. He trumpets polls that show him standing tall over his fallen competitors.

And, yep, the media continue to cover it.

Look at me! I’m devoting an entire blog post to the coverage of polling in this upcoming campaign.

I’ve taken the bait. Swallowed it. Damn near choked on it, for crying out loud.

I am hoping we start paying more careful attention to what these candidates are going to say about things that matter. Policy stuff matters.

Foreign policy counts. Domestic policy affects our lives. Taxes. The environment. Economic policy. Those are the things that should have us riveted on this campaign.

They won’t. The media will continue to report on polls. Who’s up? Who’s down? Election probability will be the No. 1 topic of every news cycle — which, of course, has become a 24/7 phenomenon.

Let’s all get ready for a wild ride.


Media need an intervention for poll addiction


Frank Bruni has it right.

The New York Times columnist has declared that the American media are addicted to polls. They can’t report on them enough. The issues driving the Democratic and Republican presidential primary campaigns? Who needs ’em!

We need to write about polls.

Broadcast outlets lead with them. Print media report on them constantly.

Bruni noted that during the Christmas-to-New Year break, Iowa voters were polled 11 times about their presidential preferences. The media reported on those polls dutifully.

The most hilarious element of all this is how media types keep bemoaning the fact that the media cover these campaigns like “horse races.”

I’ll admit that I am one of those who become fixated occasionally by polls.

Some of them are quite ridiculous, actually. National polls showing voter preferences between party primary candidates present one example. I’ve noted in this blog before how meaningless those polls are, given that the candidates — say, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — won’t face each other nationally; they are running state by state.

But hey, let’s poll voters nationally anyway.

Perhaps we can lay some of the blame for this fixation on Donald J. Trump, the leading GOP candidate for president. He loves polls. They’re huuuuge, as he says often . . . especially when they place him in the lead. Polls that place him behind someone else? Meaningless. They don’t count. Who cares about ’em?

Bruni notes in his essay, though, that Trump often starts his stump speeches off with results from the latest polls.

The media then report it.

I hope to hear it from a major newspaper newsroom or a broadcast/cable TV studio: Stop us before we report on polls again!

Evolution, creationism? Why not both?


Polls occasionally drive me a bit crazy.

Take the one discussed in a Slate.com article that says young Americans favor Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution over the belief that God created the world in six calendar days.

May we hit the pause button for a moment?

I am a Christian. I’ve read the Bible many times in my life. I know what the Bible says about how the world came to be.

I also believe that the world was populated by dinosaurs and other creatures for zillions of years before human beings made themselves known.

Thus, I believe that the two ideas are not mutually exclusive.

Is it possible that God created the world and allowed it to evolve into what it has become? I believe that is precisely what occurred.

The Slate article was written by Rachel E. Gross, who it is clear to me believes exclusively in Darwin’s theory. She writes: “Now, at long last, there seems to be hope: National polls show that creationism is beginning to falter, and Americans are finally starting to move in favor of evolution. After decades of legal battles, resistance to science education, and a deeply rooted cultural divide, evolution may be poised to win out once and for all.”

She adds: “The people responsible for this shift are the young. According to a recent Pew Research Center report, 73 percent of American adults younger than 30 expressed some sort of belief in evolution, a jump from 61 percent in 2009, the first year in which the question was asked. The number who believed in purely secular evolution (that is, not directed by any divine power) jumped from 40 percent to a majority of 51 percent. In other words, if you ask a younger American how humans arose, you’re likely to get an answer that has nothing to do with God.”

Read the whole story here

I get the divide over how to teach science in classrooms. Fundamentalists want to teach creationism as it is written in the Bible. They also want to present evolution as just as much of a theory as creationism. This issue has been kicked around at the highest level of public education governance in many states, none more so arguably than in Texas, where we elect State Board of Education members who run for the office as politicians.

Creationism, though, is a religious doctrine. Evolution is a secular one. That doesn’t mean — to my way of thinking — that one of them is invalid.

What it means to me is that the biblical version of creation was written as a metaphor. “Days” can’t be measured in 24-hour increments; for that matter, it might be possible that every element of time takes on meanings that we cannot comprehend.

Does any of this discount the role that God played in creating our world? Not in the least.

As for whether we should teach creationism in our public schools alongside evolution, well, I do not believe that’s appropriate.

Creationism should be taught in places of worship, which I also believe also is part of God’s plan.