Tuesday, June 19, 2007

"The Polls Don't Mean Squat"

I'm actually paraphrasing the DK and not quoting. Now I'll quote:

Being a blogger has been on-the-job training for me. I was obsessive about the presidential polls in 2003. Then, as you see above, they meant squat. Kerry had 9 percent heading into Iowa. He won the thing easily. I learned my lesson.

These months are an opportunity for candidates to raise money, build organization, hone their message, and prep for the storm that'll hit them in September when they'll enter the stretch run of the race. At this point, the numbers mean little, and candidates have little incentive to lead the horse race.

As for those national polls, will they be as irrelevant this cycle as in 2004? Perhaps. We have a de facto national primary this year, so they may be a bit more relevant. Or maybe the country will bend its will to Iowa and New Hampshire again, as they did four years ago.

These are uncharted waters. But one thing's for sure, those national polls are currently predictive of nothing (though not useless, since they help drive fundraising and media coverage).

This has it right. It is amazing how many column inches can be filled with speculation that people have to know, on an intellectual level at least, is a complete waste of time.

People like to complain about the "horse race" aspect of presidential campaigns. I don't mind the horse race as such, I just hate it dominating political discourse so many months before the horses ever reach the gate.


entropy said...

I have known, in my lifetime, only two genuine "top tier" scientists. Both of them were physicists working at Sandia Labs. Interestingly, I met them both in church.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

I'm struggling to see the connection here.