Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Clinton lead shrinks, widens
In general, I tend to defend the media—a vibrant part of democracy, it's part of what keeps us from being Russia.
But sometimes I do feel a flash of the loathing that such a big hunk of the public seems to feel.
Such as Tuesday, when I read this headline, from The Hill:
Clinton lead shrinks to five points in national poll.
And then, a few hours later, this one, on Twitter:
Clinton expands lead over Trump to 13 points: Reuters poll.
So a lead that shrinks and widens, to either 5 percent or more than twice that, depending on who's being polled and who's doing the poll and who's doing the reporting, apparently.
Leaving us totally unenlightened.
All together now, repeat after me, the classic words of Christopher Marlowe:
"Why this is hell; nor am I out of it."
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With public opinion polling a lot also depends on the precise nature of the questions asked. Objective differences, but easy to manipulate. The standard journalistic treatment of poll results also tends to annecdotal material -- e.g. three people are asked just why they find Hillary "untrustworthy."ReplyDelete
Polls furnish grist for the commintariate, but if all of them are read in concert, one is reminded of the the famous six blind men descriping an elephant.
Another problem with polls today, or so I've heard, is that a lot of them are dope by robocall, and it's illegal to robocall cell phones. Since fewer people have landlines at home, and those people tend to be older and whiter than the population as a whole, it gives a skewed piccture.ReplyDelete
I meant "done by robocall," of course.Delete
That was an accurate Freudian slip, the results of a robocall poll are usually dopey. The real horse race will begin after the conventions, as the political pundits try to determine who has the big mo, at least every other day. Also they will try to establish which Vice President adds the most gravitas to their party's ticket. Speaking of which, the VP debate is one of my favorite highlights of the Presidential election. In the past we got to see The High Lord of the Exchequer Lloyd Bentsen chew Dan Quayle to pieces. Then there was the consummate big business insider, and dangerous gunman, Dick Cheney's entertaining demolition of John Edwards. But it will be difficult to beat the soldier, statesman, and philosopher, Admiral Stockdale who asked the Nation the eternal questions, "Who am I? Why am I here?"Delete