The weblog of Joshua Drescher

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Polls are stupid.

February 28th, 2008 · No Comments · Politics, Rants

Like this one:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — A new poll out Wednesday suggests Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, will be a difficult candidate for the eventual Democratic nominee to beat in a general election match up this fall.

According to a just released Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll, McCain would be in tight races with either of the remaining Democratic presidential candidates.

McCain is statistically tied with Sen. Barack Obama, 44 percent to 42 percent, and ahead of Sen. Hillary Clinton by 6 points, 46 percent to 40 percent. The poll’s margin of error was plus-or-minus 3 percentage points.

The poll also showed McCain with a 61 percent approval rating, a number higher than both Clinton’s and Obama’s in past polls. (A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll earlier this month measured Clinton’s approval rating at 52 percent and Obama’s at 58 percent.)

The Arizona senator holds a clear advantage on dealing with the war in Iraq, according to the poll, and holds a 9 point advantage on economic issues over Obama, despite having acknowledged that area is not his expertise. Though the poll finds voters favor Clinton by 10 points over McCain to handle the economy.

The same poll also showed Obama with a 6 point edge over Clinton nationally — a finding that’s consistent with several other polls out earlier this week that indicate that the senator from Illinois is the frontrunner in the Democratic race.

So, apparently, McCain - who gets the benefit of being an (essentially) uncontested candidate with whom conservative and right-middle voters are now coming to terms - beats either of the two remaining Democratic candidates who are saddled with the burden of having their base divided and not being able to focus much at all on McCain because they’re still fighting each other.

Well, DUH.

A huge chunk of voters are currently emotionally committed to one or the other Democratic candidate and that commitment is almost certain to color their opinion of a potential candidacy by the other Democratic candidate. It’s a safe bet that McCain would have polled with similar weakness back when Romney was still in the race. Once the Democratic nomination is locked up, the Democrats who are currently gnashing their teeth and wailing over how much better “their” candidate is will do what they always do - miraculously convert over night into die-hard supporters of their party’s nominee. Once that happens, it’s safe to assume that either Clinton or Obama will see a significant bump in support.

That support will come from the magical 1/4 of Democratic voters who’ve consistently said they would be “unsatisfied” by the Democratic candidate they don’t support getting the nomination. It’s a safe bet that almost ALL of those people will develop a serious case of spontaneous satisfaction mere moments after the nomination is finalized.

In closing, I hate polls.


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