February 20, 2016

Sucker play

In looking at the RealClearPolitics head to head polls lately, I'm having trouble reconciling what I'm seeing.  Every candidate except for Donald Trump in poll after poll beats Hillary Clinton.  Even Trump beats her in some of the polls.  On the other hand, Bernie Sanders seems to beat every Republican in most polls in head-to-head contests. Not all.

But we're continually told that it's inevitable that Clinton wins the nomination and that she beats the Republican no matter who it might be.  

I'm struck by the fact that middle of the road voters who won't vote for Clinton would turn out for Bernie Sanders should he bee the nominee.  Or perhaps more of the very liberal voters would turn out for Sanders than moderates who would sit out should he win than the reverse case for Hillary.  The conclusion, as someone pulling for a conservative president, is that we're supposed to be cheering for Hillary to beat Sanders.  I don't buy that.

America is not a socialist, and for moderates or conservatives, I'd expect people to be pressed to turn out against Sanders as much as for his eventual Republican opponent.  Cheering for Hillary is a sucker play as a Republican.  She's the harder candidate to beat.

So why do the polls say otherwise?  Are pollsters like PPP secretly trying to get out the vote for Hillary on the Democrat side?  Are they trying to entice independent voters into Democrat primaries and caucuses to boost Hillary's chances in the primaries and after she's won the polls will turn in her favor once again?  Is she going to be billed as Comeback Kid 2?

I'm not suggesting voters are misleading pollsters, or that the pollsters are off.  What I'm suggesting is that the polling is skewed in such a way as to show that Sanders would be a harder opponent for Cruz/Trump/Rubio than would Clinton.  And in the case of some pollsters, it's deliberate.  The only other possibility that I can come up with is that the pollsters are talking to younger voters than in previous cycles thanks to changing technology. But pollsters can oversample various demographics to account for that potential bias. I'd expect they would.  I haven't taken detailed looks a the individual polls yet.  It's too early for that.  But I don't believe they'd overlook sample bias.  Like I said - as a conservative cheering for Hillary as a general election opponent for the Republican is a sucker play.


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