August 18, 2020

Don't get all excited over the latest CNN poll

A lot of conservatives are expressing their delight in the latest CNN poll showing Joe Biden +4% in the head to head match-up with president Trump, when the last CNN poll in June had Biden +14%.  Bad news for Biden, good news for president Trump, right?  Not really. In fact, it's almost meaningless.

While the news is not bad for president Trump, it's at best only directional. Firstly it's a national poll, which as everyone should realize by now, elections are state by state contests. That means president Trump may be experiencing a surge in say Texas, which he was likely to win anyway, in which case the surge does nothing for his re-election.

Secondly the CNN polls are among registered voters not likely voters. While many pollsters get their likely voter identifications incorrect, they are on the whole better predictors of outcome than Registered Voter polls. While the CNN poll has a decent size of the number of people in the poll, the Margin of Error on the poll is 4%. So even if the poll is very accurate, and directionally correct, +/-4% could mean president Trump and Biden are tied, or Biden could be ahead +8%.

All of that without even delving in to the cross-tabs of who was surveyed. For example, if all those who were surveyed were Latina women, it would not be a representative cross sample of American voters. Obviously that would not be the case, that's too extreme. But the pollsters do tend to weight the survey to match what they believe the split between Registered Republicans, Registered Democrats and Registered Independents to be in America as a whole. But even those numbers can be skewed from reality and over-sample Democrats for example.

All of that to say two things: polling so far is still basically meaningless.  Just as you should not get down when polls show a Biden landslide, you should should not get too pumped up when they show a Trump resurgence.  Most polling until late, late in the cycle, is useless.  Secondly, with other anecdotal information aligning with this, maybe there is indeed a trend towards president Trump of late.  That too is not important though, because today is not election day.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Disagreement is always welcome. Please remain civil. Vulgar or disrespectful comments towards anyone will be removed.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Share This