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The Intellectual Paucity of Polls
Last comment by JimmyMack 1 month, 1 week ago.

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Once again, Lies, Damn Lies, Statistics, then Polls.


Pollsters have tried for years to measure Obama's popularity in various ways, from rating how likable he is to how strong of a leader he is considered to whether people think he understands their problems. They even ask if people want to have a beer with him.
Whether he would lose in a rematch today with the guy who made the "47 percent" comment is another way to test whether and how much Obama's brand has faded since November 2012.
What's most notable, though, is that it's not really all that surprising that he would lose to Romney; after all, his approval rating has been stuck in the low 40s for a while. Indeed, it probably would be more surprising if Obama somehow were still in this lead.
There's also the fact that Romney benefits from not having to, you know, actually campaign or govern -- and the fact that Romney still trails Hillary Clinton by 13 points in a hypothetical 2016 matchup. In other words, it's not like this is a sign of big GOP momentum heading into 2016.

All of this is important context.

The poll is a data point with nominal value that should be taken as such. It's like surveys comparing Congress to head lice or to Nickelback -- or the recent poll that showed Darth Vader is more popular than potential GOP presidential candidates.

Will Americans be forced to choose between Congress and Nickelback? It seems unlikely. Will Darth Vader give Chris Christie a run for his money in Iowa? Probably not.

But those comparisons at least put an interesting spin on what is otherwise a pretty boring set of questions that are asked over and over again and show the same things: that Congress is terrible and that the GOP presidential race is wide open.

This new Obama-Romney poll is perfectly fine to be viewed in this less-than-serious light. But, again, it's not even all that surprising.

Moral of the story: Polls can be interesting, but for the most part their interest is found in their dumbness.

Latest Activity: Jul 28, 2014 at 11:03 AM

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HMJC commented on Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014 at 08:00 AM


You and Sebe have both conceded that most polls target the demographic in order to get the answer they want to here. My problem with the administration has nothing to due with polls. It is the epic failures of the administration. I get it, you are on the Hilary train but I would think that high level Public servants that served in a failed administration would not be a good choice for future success. If Hillary is elected all it is another novelty and social experiment at the cost to the people they serve.

JimmyMack commented on Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014 at 09:08 AM

Disagree HMJC. Hillary is not another novelty and social experiment. She is a smart, world knowledgeable human who knows what it means to LEAD who just happens to be a woman.

As far as me and Sebe go...well...we are IN TO bitch slappin' each other.

JimmyMack commented on Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014 at 13:13 PM

Sebe is just more subtle than I.

sebekm commented on Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014 at 19:50 PM

No really. I reiterate that polls are designed to extract how We The People feel about the issues - and for the most part the politicians - of the day. Dems don't like 'em now because of what they show. Dems LOVED 'em while Dubya was in office. The worm has turned.

My latest blog will continue to relate how MUCH the worm has turned. Here it comes.

JimmyMack commented on Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014 at 19:54 PM

I await it with baited breath.

sebekm commented on Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014 at 15:12 PM

Don't you mean "bated," or am I missing something.....

JimmyMack commented on Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014 at 16:02 PM

So...you spell better too! I will never catch up.

sebekm commented on Wednesday, Aug 06, 2014 at 13:55 PM

Yes You Can!

JimmyMack commented on Wednesday, Aug 06, 2014 at 16:52 PM

Good one, Sebe!

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