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November 04, 2015

Why Is Polling So Terrible?

Most polls showed Matt Bevin's opponent comfortably ahead -- but then Matt Bevin won, comfortably.

Why?

Are polls worth anything anymore?

1. How bad is public polling, or is Kentucky unusually hard to poll? Basically every public poll over the past several weeks had Bevin losing -- even his campaign could do no better than muster an internal poll showing him tied (so did Vox Populi, a Republican-leaning pollster that had him at 44-44 and which got bragging rights in 2014 as one of the few pollsters showing anything like a competitive Virginia Senate race). But recall that polls consistently understated Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) 54%'s margin of victory last year by a wide margin. Maybe we are headed to more catastrophic polling failures in 2016, or maybe Kentucky is just a tough state to poll.

Even his own pollster could only claim a tie -- so what's going on? Republicans may be better voters. Maybe Democrats are people unencumbered by time restraints and are still interested in having strangers ask them personal questions about political beliefs.

Dan McLoughlin also makes this point -- Bevin was despised by the Establishment, yet won. Simultaneously...

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), unlike Bevin, is a member in good standing of McConnell's caucus, and he seems to be in deep trouble [in the Louisiana gubernatorial election]. If Vitter loses after Bevin won, that may underline the anti-incumbent mood, especially since it would mean both states tossing out the party in power.

On the other hand, that could just be more nothing-to-do Democrats eagerly chatting with pollsters.

For those who enjoy shadenfreude -- and seriously, who doesn't? we shouldn't even call it shadenfreude, we should just call it "the highest form of joy" -- Bevin's shocked opponent (whose name I won't bother learning) gave a strange speech to his faithful post-defeat.

He sounds like an absolute moron.

He makes a bizarre case. He claims that it's not true that Democrats are the godless ones, and Republicans are the godly ones, and that Democrats are just as Christian as Republicans.

Okay.

Then he announces that he "hasn't read the Good Book cover to cover like some of you have."

Then he proves his case that Democrats are the real Christians by noting that when Mary rode into Bethlehem, she rode a donkey, not an elephant.

Also: Jesus must have been a Democrat, because he was a carpenter and a teacher, and all the carpenter-slash-teachers he knows are Democrats.

What?

He sounds like a guy who just got read the basic plot of this "Bible" story five minutes before he went on the stage, and he's offering whatever bullet-points he can remember.

Nothing like a Bible-ignorant secularist telling people that Democrats aren't all atheists.


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posted by Ace at 07:50 PM

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