A Few Thoughts on Polls, & Boneheads in the News (posted 10/7/22)

I spent some time this week catching up on some Gutfeld episodes that I’d recorded over the last 10 days or so, and I came across a monologue from last week that gave me pause.  When Gutfeld discussed Biden asking where deceased congresswoman Jackie Walorski was, he jokingly referenced Biden’s habit of shaking hands with ghosts, and also using a Ouija board.

You may remember that I made a variation of both of those jokes in my column last Friday.  I wrote my column on Thursday night, without having seen that Gutfeld bit, and as a former English prof for whom plagiarism was a cardinal sin, I feel compelled to say that. 

I’m guilty of many things: low-brow humor, sometimes cruel lampooning of those I think deserve it, and repeated mockery of all those times Liz Warren appeared in redface during her vaudeville years.  (#wemustneverstopmocking her) 

Having said that, I think it may be that Biden’s bizarre behavior makes séance-adjacent references fairly obvious.  On the other hand, its also possible that Gutfeld and I think very much alike.

I’m not sure which of us should be more alarmed by that thought!

The mid-terms are only a month away, and I’m trying not to pay too much attention to the polls, even though I’m happy that they seem to be moving away from the Dems lately.  Polls are problematic because while they are generally skewed to the left, the natural instinct to dismiss all polls that look bad for one’s side can lead to being in a bubble, and disconnected from political realities.

A lot of MSM polls are not much better than “push” polling, whereby the pollster skews answers by using deceptively loaded language: 

“How do you feel about women’s reproductive health care?” (That means abortion, possibly up until the baby crowns.  Or after.)

“Do you approve of gender-affirming care?” (That means dangerous chemical and surgical intervention in a futile attempt to deny one’s actual gender.)      

“Do you think toddlers should be given assault-style weapons of war?” (That means, “Do you think citizens should be allowed to bear arms to defend themselves, like it says in the constitution?”)

More subtle skewing depends on the population sampled.  Surveys of “likely voters” invariably find more support for conservatives; surveys of “registered voters” find less support, and surveys of “adults” find still less. 

Many polls also over-sample lefties and under-sample righties.  In a district where the GOP, the Dems, and Independents each represent a third of the voters, you can get an unrealistically sunny poll for Dems by polling 50% Dems, 25% independents, and 25% GOP.

In the last 3 national elections, national polls obviously skewed toward the Dems.  In 2016, polls had Hillary killing it in WI and MI, and with small but significant leads in PA, FL, NC – all of which she ultimately lost.  (Oh, the joy it still brings me to write that sentence!)  The NY Times famously gave her a 92% chance of winning on election eve, and most MSM electoral vote projections had her taking somewhere in the 315-325 range. (She actually got only 232.)  

In races across the board in 2018 and 2020 – whether the GOP ultimately lost or won them – polls consistently erred in favor of the Dems.  And the polls had Terry MacAuliffe easily beating Youngkin in VA last November.

On the other hand, ignoring polling that you don’t like is foolish, and has come back to bite many candidates and voters over the years.  It’s sometimes hard to predict turnout, and with shady practices like massive mail-in voting, ballot harvesting and fraud, it’s tough to be confident of the outcome, even when you feel confident about how the voters actually feel.

I generally try a couple of tactics when handicapping an election:

1. I give more credence to final polls than earlier ones, because earlier polls can be used to influence voting patterns by skewing left, while final polls are the ones by which pollsters are ultimately judged.

2. I try to judge polling outfits by past performance.  Who was closest to the actual results over the last half-dozen election cycles? 

3. I consider historical trends, though with a grain of salt.  The party out of power tends to win congressional seats in a new president’s first mid-term.  If an incumbent is under 50% in approval ratings late, s/he is vulnerable.   High presidential approval ratings pull his party up in midterms, while low prez numbers pull it down.  The right track/wrong track answers usually predict incumbent party success or failure.

4. I adjust for bias by adding anywhere from 2-4 points to the GOP candidate in most races.  So this year, the GA, PA and AZ senate races show a slight Dem lead, but I’d guess that there is a slight GOP lead in all of them.  Kari Lake for AZ governor, Laxalt in NV and Vance in OH all have small poll leads, so I’d probably guess that they’re up more like 5 points.

Overall, I’m nervous and worried about fraud, but – you guessed it – cautiously optimistic about November 8th.  What do you all think?

Okay, let me end with a quick whip-round of morons in the news:

You know I’ve got a very low opinion of the cackling dopes on the View, and Whoopi Goldberg is as bad as any of them.  So it was extra fun to read a reviewer’s analysis of the upcoming movie “Till” – about the hideous lynching of Emmett Till in 1955 – in which Goldberg has a part. 

In the review, Kyndall Cunningham (she’s black, so you know that she’s not racist) was mostly positive, but she did criticize the “distracting fat suit” that Goldberg wore in the movie.

There’s only one problem. 

One hilarious problem.

Goldberg wasn’t wearing a fat suit in the film.

D’oh!  (Also: HA! HAHA!  HAHAHA!!)

By the way, here’s my review of “Till”:  Do we need another self-congratulatory, virtue-signaling exercise in racial scab-picking about an old story that everybody already agrees on, and no one would ever defend? 

How about, NO!   

Do you remember Jacob Frey, the leftist, low-T Minneapolis mayor who infamously surrendered his city and allowed months of BLM and Antifa riots to devastate much of its business district in 2020?  (In my column at the time, I referred to him as Mayor Wussy McPussington, if that rings any bells.)

Well, the Frey-baby has learned nothing.  This week he complained that in the Twin Cities, “it is easier to buy a gun than a fresh apple.” 

I know what you’re thinking: “How am I going to terrorize and rob some white-privilege-having mother-friender by holding a fresh apple to his head?  Am I supposed to pass out a bunch of Granny Smiths to my posse the next time we want to do a smash-and-grab at a jewelry store? C’mon, man!”

“Besides, I’m sick of filling out all of those forms and then waiting days for a federal background check every time I want to buy a fresh apple!”

If you missed Biden’s remarks when he stopped by Puerto Rico on Monday, you should find a copy of the transcript.

Spoiler alert:  Apparently, Joe Biden was born a poor Puerto Rican child. 

That was way before he marched arm-in-arm with Dr. King at Selma, and even further before he drove a truck, which was right around the time he was finishing at the top of his law school class, but well after he bested the dread Corn Pop in a bout of fisticuffs.

So, yeah. That’s our president.

It’s been a long 14 years, and it’s only been 90 weeks.

One thought on “A Few Thoughts on Polls, & Boneheads in the News (posted 10/7/22)”

  1. Martin, as for thinking like Gutfeld (and as funny as they are), you have never told a POOP joke. Therefore, you are not in Greg’s circle.
    I love both of you, so theres that.


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