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Wed Jan 20, 2016, 09:27 PM

 

Do not make arguments based on GE matchup polls. They are meaningless.

This is just a PSA.

Whether it be pro-Bernie or pro-Hillary, citing a poll showing any candidate beating another in the GE is really meaningless at this time.

Furthermore, making an argument to support a candidate as a result of said polls is also foolhardy.

There are many historical examples of this, but my favorite is is Dukakis leading Bush 55-38 in a poll from July 1988:

http://www.nytimes.com/1988/07/26/us/dukakis-lead-widens-according-to-new-poll.html

16 replies, 2003 views

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Response to StrongBad (Original post)

Wed Jan 20, 2016, 09:32 PM

1. And yet, in a primary, that evidence doesn't mean the relative strength cannot be gleaned.

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Response to JonLeibowitz (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 20, 2016, 09:34 PM

2. My opinion is that the undecideds and independents don't pay attention until about September.

 

As such, I think any conclusions made about the GE during the primary season are incomplete.

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Response to StrongBad (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 20, 2016, 09:50 PM

4. You make a good point.

My retort, and it is a weak one, is that the same could be said for a child rapist who ia running in the primary with bad polling numbers. You know that candidate won't be winning over any undecideds.

I therefore choose to believe they have some value on a relative basis. YMMV.

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Response to JonLeibowitz (Reply #4)

Thu Jan 21, 2016, 12:40 AM

13. Are Sanders' General election Numbers Fools Gold

These polls are worthless because Sanders has not been vetted by the media http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/first-read-three-weeks-go-three-margin-error-races-n493946

Not surprisingly, Sanders' campaign is touting those general-election numbers. "There was fresh evidence on Sunday that confirms Bernie Sanders would be the most electable Democratic Party nominee for president because he performs much better than Hillary Clinton," the campaign blasted out to reporters yesterday. But here is a legitimate question to ask: Outside of maybe New Hampshire (where Sanders enjoys a geographic advantage), are Sanders' general-election numbers fool's gold? When is the last time you've seen national Republicans issue even a press release on Sanders? Given the back-and-forth over Bill Clinton's past -- and given Sanders calling Bill Clinton's behavior "disgraceful" -- when is the last time anyone has brought up the candidate's 1972 essay about a woman fantasizing about "being raped by three men simultaneously"? Bottom line: It's always instructive to take general-election polling with a grain of salt, especially 300 days before the general election. And that's particularly true for a candidate who hasn't actually gone through the same wringer the other candidates have.

These match up polls are not meaningful at this stage

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Response to DemocratSinceBirth (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 20, 2016, 10:11 PM

6. Are you suggesting the OP is unsupported by the data? eom.

 

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #6)

Wed Jan 20, 2016, 10:28 PM

7. The opposite./nt

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Response to StrongBad (Original post)

Wed Jan 20, 2016, 09:57 PM

5. That election was DUKAKIS' to lose, and he blew it.

 

He blew it by failing to respond to all of Bush's negative attacks, mostly.

John Kerry did the same thing to a lesser extent in 2004.


The eventual outcome of elections are based on what happens during the whole campaign.

Just because the results may be totally different than some general election poll,
does not mean that the poll was "meaningless" at the time it was taken... they are a snapshot in time of general voter sentiment.

Now I don't think anyone should base their whole argument for a candidate on general election polls, but neither do I think one should totally ignore them.

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Response to John Poet (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 20, 2016, 10:47 PM

8. I was 6 in 1988. Was it solely the tank incident that did him in?

 

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Response to StrongBad (Reply #8)

Wed Jan 20, 2016, 10:51 PM

10. No, but it didn't help.

His overly analytical, unemotional-sounding answer on the Death penalty when asked a very personal question about his wife being the victim of a horrible crime, didn't help either.

But he ran a pretty bad campaign all around. I still voted for him, though.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #10)

Wed Jan 20, 2016, 11:05 PM

11. Then there was the Willie Horton ad.

 

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Response to StrongBad (Reply #8)

Thu Jan 21, 2016, 04:09 AM

15. There were a number of things.

 

The tank film didn't help but that was of his own doing.
Broke the rule: "Presidential candidates don't wear funny hats."

It was the 'prison furlough' ad from the Bush campaign that did the most damage:




Dukakis never addressed this issue for weeks or months, thinking "the electorate was too smart to fall for this" sort of reasoning, but he was quite wrong. Even I could not understand why he was not responding to the ad at all.

Turns out, the Massachusetts prison furlough program was initiated by a Republican governor, and Dukakis had ended it. That's what he really needed to say, but never did until it was too late and he was upside down in the polls. There was never enough time to recover.

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Response to StrongBad (Original post)

Wed Jan 20, 2016, 10:50 PM

9. People should vote for the candidate who most represents their views on issues, in the primary.

That is my take. Because Primaries are how we define who we are and what we stand for, as a party.

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Response to StrongBad (Original post)

Thu Jan 21, 2016, 12:24 AM

12. According to Nate Silver's 538 site, do not rely on match up polls

Here are some warnings from Nate Silver's 538 site. Warning number three is very relevant

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Response to StrongBad (Original post)

Thu Jan 21, 2016, 12:42 AM

14. According to Nate Silver's 538 site, do not rely on match up polls

The reliance on these polls by Sanders supporters amuse me. http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/harrys-guide-to-2016-election-polls/

Ignore hypothetical matchups in primary season – they also measure nothing. General election polls before and during the primary season have a very wide margin of error. That’s especially the case for candidates who aren’t even in the race and therefore haven’t been treated to the onslaught of skeptical media coverage usually associated with being the candidate.

Sanders supporters have to rely on these worthless polls because it is clear that Sanders is not viable in a general election where the Kochs will be spending $887 million and the RNC candidate may spend an additional billion dollars.

No one should rely on hypo match up type polls in selecting a nominee at this stage of the race.

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Response to StrongBad (Original post)

Wed Jan 27, 2016, 10:22 AM

16. Democrats would be insane to nominate Bernie Sanders

Dana Milbank has some good comments on general election match up polls https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/democrats-would-be-insane-to-nominate-bernie-sanders/2016/01/26/0590e624-c472-11e5-a4aa-f25866ba0dc6_story.html?hpid=hp_opinions-for-wide-side_opinion-card-a%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

Sanders and his supporters boast of polls showing him, on average, matching up slightly better against Trump than Clinton does. But those matchups are misleading: Opponents have been attacking and defining Clinton for a quarter- century, but nobody has really gone to work yet on demonizing Sanders.

Watching Sanders at Monday night’s Democratic presidential forum in Des Moines, I imagined how Trump — or another Republican nominee — would disembowel the relatively unknown Vermonter.


The first questioner from the audience asked Sanders to explain why he embraces the “socialist” label and requested that Sanders define it “so that it doesn’t concern the rest of us citizens.”

Sanders, explaining that much of what he proposes is happening in Scandinavia and Germany (a concept that itself alarms Americans who don’t want to be like socialized Europe), answered vaguely: “Creating a government that works for all of us, not just a handful of people on the top — that’s my definition of democratic socialism.”

But that’s not how Republicans will define socialism — and they’ll have the dictionary on their side. They’ll portray Sanders as one who wants the government to own and control major industries and the means of production and distribution of goods. They’ll say he wants to take away private property. That wouldn’t be fair, but it would be easy. Socialists don’t win national elections in the United States .

Sanders on Monday night also admitted he would seek massive tax increases — “one of the biggest tax hikes in history,” as moderator Chris Cuomo put it — to expand Medicare to all. Sanders, this time making a comparison with Britain and France, allowed that “hypothetically, you’re going to pay $5,000 more in taxes,” and declared, “W e will raise taxes, yes we will.” He said this would be offset by lower health-insurance premiums and protested that “it’s demagogic to say, oh, you’re paying more in taxes.

Well, yes — and Trump is a demagogue.

Sanders also made clear he would be happy to identify Democrats as the party of big government and of wealth redistribution. When Cuomo said Sanders seemed to be saying he would grow government “bigger than ever,” Sanders didn’t quarrel, saying, “P eople want to criticize me, okay,” and “F ine, if that’s the criticism, I accept it.”

Sanders accepts it, but are Democrats ready to accept ownership of socialism, massive tax increases and a dramatic expansion of government? If so, they will lose.

Match up polls are worthless because these polls do not measure what would happen to Sanders in a general election where Sanders is very vulnerable to negative ads.

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