As an experiment, I've paid attention to the studies over the past eight weeks. After reviewing countless reports, I've found that it's pretty clear – that this article is not even kind of about bagging leaves. Reading them? Maybe.
Ha! You didn't know that I would go in that direction. I like to keep you guessing by setting your expectations, and then just as you get to a point where you're ready to cope with them, I crush them like Fetterman sitting down abruptly on a carton of eggs. It seems like that's been a theme this week.
Having followed the coverage of expert pollsters over the last eight weeks you would think we would have any sense of how the elections would turn out, but like a stroke, we didn't see that coming. As I've written in the past in my article titled does this marketing research make me look fat?, "The biggest problem with research is that people draw conclusions from the research."
The polls failed us in 2016, and since then, pollsters have been frantically looking for methods to control for something known as "Trumpers who don't respond to polls", which of course is likely due to their lack of opposable thumbs, or the bias against answering a phone that doesn't have a Big Mac on it (placed strategically as bait). It's been reported that pollsters have tried adding a large Diet Coke and in some cases a $5 bill to bribe people into responding to polls, but have found that even with the incentive method, polls have yielded questionable findings, including a lack of demographic representation in some categories and increased risk of ketchup stains.
Despite researchers adjusting their approach, conclusions were still pretty wrong. Or they were right, but no one really believed them, so they interpreted them wrong. Meaning, both Republicans and Democrats were shocked when things turned out differently than expected.
In fact, they were so wrong that most Democrats didn't even buy plates for the cake at their election watch parties, resulting in egg-based frosting on their faces when they found out they won the election. An election they previously thought they were running to ceremonially concede just to make a statement that elections should go to their winners (a novel idea voters seem to be big fans of).
I would plan on 2024 coming with similar issues. Unpredictable election results, failed voter polls, and bad cake. But the trust in the polls doesn't appear the have an effect on our desire to obsess about them.
Polls offer two valuable things during an election season. A rough idea of what to talk about, and a job for the pollsters. But it may be the case that they're also introducing a new set of troubles as well. Roughly 63% of voters turned out for the last presidential elections, and that's if people are hot and bothered – and not suppressed by the various factors that dampen voter turnout. Polls, and how they are reported can have an effect on voting behavior – and they tend to have a specific emphasis on the candidate and less on the issues. They tell us who has the ability to win, and who is the underdog.
But being the underdog doesn't make your policies any better. Frankly, the party flag you fly won't make your policies any better than your New Jersey address makes you a better Senator for Pennsylvania.
If you ask me, focusing on the issues would be the better strategy. Like Ron Desantis does. Of course, to him, the issues are anyone who's not an old spray-tanned Republican, or if their pronouns don't match his plans for them. In this year's election, those issues didn't get in the way of him winning by a landslide. To, Lauren Boebert, the issue is that she carries more rounds between those in her purse and those loaded into her open carry than the spread of votes between her and her democrat challenger – as of this writing, we're still waiting to see who gets the last few, and who will be taking a bullet (if you ask me, the Republican party has been taking a bullet by putting up with people like Boebert as one of their headline grabbers).
But if you take Colorado's stand-up comedian out of the conversation, the bigger issues are the ones we should be talking about. To most of us, those issues are democracy, abortion rights, crime, and inflation – and those issues don't have an underdog.
Maybe next time, we should put less weight on the polls.
And no. You should not bag your leaves.