Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Polls can be wrong



     Those who wake up Tuesday thinking Rahm Emanuel has the election in the bag are doing so, in part, because the polls show him way ahead. Although polls are imperfect predictors of the future, as this Sun-Times front page from Sept. 10, 2010 reminds us. 
      Less than five years ago. Daley had just announced his retirement. What a world away. I imagine most readers don't need to be reminded what happened to these front chuckleheads, but just in case, I'll give a brief refresher:
      Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, the front-runner (to stretch the term since, given the spread is from 12 to 7 percent, it really is more of a five-way dead heat, statistically) realized he had a family and dropped out. (Code for, he got scared, contemplating the Rahm buzz saw and bolted like a frightened faun). Rev. James Meeks, who initially clung to the charmed notion he could be mayor of the city of Chicago and remain pastor of his mega-church, opted to stick with the more lucrative job. Luis Guitierrez ... well, I can't recall offhand what happened to him. Generated no heat, per usual, and stuck to his safe gig as congressman. My hunch is he never seriously considered running. Jesse Jackson went insane and was eventually sent to prison. And Rahm, taking up the tail end, diced up his opponents, the solid Gery Chico (who, for those dazzled by the "historic" nature of this race, was both a Hispanic mayoral candidate and crushed by Rahm by more than 2 to to 1). Not to forget  the hapless Carol Moseley-Braun, didn't make this cut, but did run, earning the pity vote of 8 percent. 
    Speaking of Rahm, I'd like to be the first to point out that, should he win, those postulating a kinder, gentler, V-neck sweatered Rahm are living in a dream world. Because the idea that this near-death experience somehow chastened him is based on magical thinking. I believe it's more likely the expensive annoyance of having to campaign hard will only piss him off, making him even a bigger jerk than he already is, which is saying something. And next time his campaign chest will be $50 million. 
    Assuming he wins. There is a chance that the underpolled Hispanic community really will turn out in force and elect Chuy Garcia. Stranger things have happened. And there's a chance the chilly weather keeps them home. Or keeps the soft Lakefront liberals who are supposedly Rahm's base home. Unless they've already voted because they're all in Cancun for spring break. That's why I try not to predict the future—too many variables, and why waste time balancing them all when we can find out with 100 percent certainty by employing a little trick I call "waiting." We'll know by tonight. I hope.

13 comments:

  1. Well, I went and did it: voted for Chuy. Which I probably wouldn't have done were I not sure that Rahm will win. Is this a win-win situation or a lose-lose?

    John

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    1. Well, if enough folks like you use their vote to "send a message", rather than vote for the guy they "probably" think is the better candidate, it could end up being a "win-win" for Chuy! Whether that would be characterized as a win or loss for the city is what this election is supposed to be about...

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    2. Not really "sending a message." Just voting my ambivalence.

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  2. "Waiting." A novel concept, but one that would leave a lot of empty column space in your newspaper.

    Don't know whether or not Rahm is or is not a "jerk," but consider it irrelevant. I've known a few reasonably famous people and found them, in person, not much like their public image.

    I think people who have family members who suffer from bi-polar disease would wish you hadn't written "Jesse Jackson went insane and was eventually sent to prison."

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    1. I think Emanuel's problem is that he's very much like his public image. I mean his real one, not the one he's trying to manufacture with those stupid commercials.

      (Whenever I see one, I think of the best "Simpsons" episode ever: Mr. Burns runs for governor. "Why are my teeth showing like that?" "Because you're smiling." "Excellent! This is exactly the kind of trickery I'm paying you for.")

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    2. Originally it was "crazy" but I was trying to be sensitive. "Jesse Jackson developed bi-polar disease" is a diagnosis, not a line from a column. I have no idea what his problem is and neither do you. Maybe nobody knows. "Insane" seems a fair summation of the situation. This isn't kindergarten.

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  3. jesse jr. was enabled, many with bipolar disease don't go try to scam material goods

    that's an excuse

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  4. he's no crazier than anyone else, and is full of bull, jjj that is and his dad and wife

    I hope the Pres. doesn't commute her sentence or pardon her

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    1. My comment seems to have tapped into a vein of dislike for the Jacksons, which is perhaps why it was so misunderstood. I was not trying to excuse Jesse Jr. or suggesting that his bad behavior was a result of his disease, only questioning Neil's terminology. If you know someone suffering from bi-polar disease, which this seems to be, or family members who deal with them you would know that calling them insane is both inaccurate and cruel.

      To Neil, you're right that I don't know for sure what's wrong with Jackson, but it sounds pretty much like what people I do know have gone through. I understand you're not in a touchy feely business, but In the interest of accuracy, I would suggest that neither insane nor crazy is an apt descriptor. Water over the dam, of course, but it might have been better to have just said "medical problems."

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  5. anon above you are being controlling, overly pc, anal and nit picky

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    1. Don't know if anybody is still reading this, but being called these nasty things does call for some defense. "Controlling?" I think Neil would be surprised to learn what he wrote was being controlled by me or anybody else. "Overly politically correct." Unlikely, since the mentally ill don't exert much influence, political or otherwise. "Anal?" I didn't know people read Freud any more.

      I was merely trying to point out that "insane" and "crazy" are heavy pejoratives, suggesting to most people bizarre or dangerous behavior and being put away for your own good. People who suffer from depressive diseases, and there are a lot more of them than you might think, are usually high functioning until they are not. And then they go through Hell until, usually with medication or therapy, they can work themselves out of the glums. Understandably, they would rather not be thought of as insane or crazy, and it seems to me nothing more than a kindness to recognize the legitimacy of their feelings. But then maybe that's just me being nit picky.

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  6. Darn it, big money, democrat in name only wins again-elistists rule

    I thought Garcia gave it a good shot and wasn' t the empty suit some thought.

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  7. elitists, that is

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