In my circle I’m regarded as kinda the “go-to guy” on political issues, and I have a pretty good record on predictions of trends and outcomes. Everybody’s come to me and asked me to analyze this race and predict who’s going to win. As I tell them, I just don’t know. I’ve never, ever seen anything like this in my life.
The aspects that make prediction so hard are these. This is the first time I’ve seen an election in which neither candidate has a strong base of support. Look at the numbers on their personal qualities. Both are regarded as pretty repulsive candidates. The result is that the voters going to the polls aren’t voting FOR anyone. For the most part they’re going there to cast votes AGAINST someone else. I have no idea how to factor such a phenomenon into a quantitative assessment, and I don’t think anyone else does, either.
Polls are dependent on people answering pollsters honestly. But what happens when a large number of people are embarrassed about their actual opinion, and lie? It skews things, and again we have the uniqueness of an election in which both major candidates are an embarrassment for a lot of people to admit to supporting.
Polling results can be “pushed” by the phrasing of questions asked. There’s absolutely NO doubt that the MSM, which sponsor most polls, have committed themselves to Clinton. They haven’t even tried to hide it this time. So how has that affected the polling questions they’ve formulated, and the consequently skewed results, leading to inaccurate conclusions? Again, hard to quantify.
The majority of the people voting FOR Clinton (as opposed to AGAINST Trump) are the party faithful, and they’d vote for anybody who won that party’s nomination, and quite happily. But that’s not at all the case with Trump. Those who actually want to vote FOR him (as opposed to AGAINST Clinton) managed to essentially take over the GOP nomination process and force him down the party’s throat. It was a populist uprising. A revolt. Many are party members, or former members, but many are people who feel that the GOP – and probably both parties – haven’t represented their interests for a long time. They joined the GOP to support Trump into the nomination, but they’re not committed to that party at all. How can they be categorized, and consequently polled?
There’s an “enthusiasm” aspect which pollsters have started to acknowledge in recent years that has an effect on voting turnout, and that turnout can have a major impact on election outcome. But again, in a race between repulsive candidates, how can you quantify that “enthusiasm”? Will one’s enthusiasm to vote FOR a candidate be more meaningful than another’s “enthusiasm” to vote AGAINST that same candidate?
There are other factors, too, but I think these are the big ones. That’s why I think the results of this race are still up in the air. I don’t find any of the current polling, or predictions, to be persuasive, frankly. It could be a squeaker either way; it could be a landslide blowout, either way. I just don’t have a clue, and I don’t think the pollsters do, either.
In support of my thesis, here’s a (Link) to an interview with John Zogby that was conducted a couple of days ago. Zogby’s one of this country’s most prominent and reliable pollsters, and the title of the article says it all: “Pollster John Zogby: Presidential Race Far From Over”.
There’s still time to save this country, folks. Let’s get out there and do our part.
©Brian Baker 2016