Category Archives: Polling

Berning it All Down?

So this article penned by Glenn Greenwald is making the rounds of Facebook today, and I personally am a bit more annoyed than I probably should be at the continued whining of Sanders supporters at the announcement of Hillary Clinton’s presumptive nomination by the Democratic party;

LAST NIGHT, the Associated Press — on a day when nobody voted — surprised everyone by abruptly declaring the Democratic Party primary over and Hillary Clinton the victor. The decree, issued the night before the California primary in which polls show Clinton and Bernie Sanders in a very close race, was based on the media organization’s survey of “superdelegates”: the Democratic Party’s 720 insiders, corporate donors, and officials whose votes for the presidential nominee count the same as the actually elected delegates.

It probably bears noting that these same super-delegates, which the democratically demanding Sanders supporters deride when lined up for Hillary, are the very same votes that Sanders will need to win the nomination since Hillary now has a commanding lead in numbers of votes and numbers of delegates.

But that isn’t the part that really annoys me.

No, the part that annoys me is that Greenwald is printing an outright fabrication in that article. Yes, it is true that the AP story which he cites claims that the survey was only of super-delegates, but it was no secret that Hillary Clinton was going to cross the threshold of delegates on the seventh or before, and that the announcement would probably be made before California went to vote.

Don’t believe me?

Here is the podcast I heard it on first; (stream link)

Weekly Roundup: Thursday, June 2
A week of defense for Donald Trump, and Hillary Clinton goes on the attack in a big foreign policy speech. This episode: host/reporter Sam Sanders, White House correspondent Tamara Keith, digital political reporter Danielle Kurtzleben, and political editor Domenico Montanaro. More coverage at nprpolitics.org. 

 Please note the date of the podcast (June 2nd) and that the hosts of the podcast note that Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands voted before the four states whose primaries ran on Tuesday, and that the projected announcement date of crossing that threshold was on the seventh.

Which puts the lie to Greenwald’s assertion that “nobody voted”.  There were people voting, they just weren’t voting in the officially recognized states of the United States. A minor oversight, I’m sure.  Except he’s a journalist, and I’m just a blogger with access to the internet.  One would hope that a journalist would have a firmer grasp on the truth, especially Glenn Greenwald after all the times he’s gone to bat for it.

But NPR isn’t the only source that understood the impending threshold that would be crossed on the 7th. Fivethirtyeight was predicting the seventh as the latest date that the threshold would be crossed as far back as May 24th!

Does this mean that the major news outlets will declare Clinton the nominee at exactly 8 p.m. on June 7? Not necessarily. There aren’t likely to be exit polls in New Jersey, and the news outlets will probably wait for returns — exit polls are expensive — from the state to determine whether Clinton has clinched. Still, it’ll probably be pretty clear after some votes are counted that Clinton has hit the minimum delegate threshold to win the nomination.

It turned out that the number of delegates required to be declared the presumptive nominee was crossed early, as it was always possible could happen.  Nothing about this is unforeseen, or a surprise, except to the politically inexperienced who don’t understand how this game is played.  That group certainly doesn’t include Glenn Greenwald or Bernie Sanders.

It is time and past time for Bernie Sanders to put a lid on the ridiculous accusations leveled at the party that he is purportedly running as a candidate in, and to start making the kinds of noises one makes when one wants to make a civilized exit from a political race. It is time and past time for the media to stop inventing reasons to dump on Hillary Clinton.

The voices of support for her are few and far between at this point, and the brave few who dare to speak out are routinely targeted as paid shills for her.  As if she hasn’t earned some legitimate supporters of her own just through her own hard work in office and in the Democratic party itself;

In this telling, in order to do something as hard as becoming the first female presidential nominee of a major political party, she had to do something extraordinarily difficult: She had to build a coalition, supported by a web of relationships, that dwarfed in both breadth and depth anything a non-incumbent had created before. It was a plan that played to her strengths, as opposed to her (entirely male) challengers’ strengths. And she did it.

She is the presumptive nominee of the party.  Her landslide victory in California proves that she has the backing of the Democratic party across the nation. It is time to put this race to bed and get on with the convention shenanigans.

Journalism? General Education, That is the Problem

A comment on Robert Reich’s status went a bit long;

Trump is a manifestation of poor education in the US exacting its price on the US and the world.  The chickens have come home to roost. The wide-spread, wrong-headed notion that a strong leader is the way to get the change you want in a complex system, has manifested in the personages of Trump and Sanders, the demagogic “outsiders” who are believed by the uninformed to be capable of effecting change on a system by themselves.
While Sanders elected alone would fail just as Obama failed to live up to the dreams of the people who voted for him in 2008, Trump is quite capable of wrecking the system all by himself if he is elected. 
It is much easier to destroy than it is to create. 
At this point in this one election all that is left is to hope for is that the Democrats can pull out a win.  It would be nice to think that they could gain a sweeping victory that would bring in enough progressives to alter the system in a positive way.  Hand the Republicans such a crushing defeat that they are forced to re-invent themselves into a opposition party that doesn’t deny science and embrace religion as its starting point.  The Bernie or busters are going to make that possibility as remote as they can, unfortunately.
The Bernie or busters are not interested in reforming the system any more than the Tea Party Trump supporters are.  They want to re-invent it, which is just one step more than simply destroying it.  They tell themselves they’ll be happy with a Trump presidency because at least the status quo will end.  Both the Trump supporters and the Bernie or busters don’t really understand the kind of misery bringing down the US system will create.  I’m becoming afraid we might just find out how deep that well of misery is.
The fix for this is so much more than just reporting.  Just being able to predict what the population will go for in an election. That is not even scratching the surface of the problem. First you have to educate the voting public on just how blind this faith in a strong leader is.  The journalists who inform us on politics cannot be held responsible for the failure of the education system in the US to actually educate the population to the dangers of dictatorship.  As college educated people they of course discarded the idea that the average American would fall prey to a demagogue like Trump.  It’s obvious he’s lying and has no clue what he’s talking about.  Why would anyone take this orange hate-monkey seriously?
…Unless of course you believe that a strong leader is what we need, in spite of the obvious fact that a system as complex as the US government cannot possibly be run by one person. Then all bets are off and the people who want a guy who pretends to have all the answers have control of the mechanisms of statecraft through the selection of the next head of state.
We’ve been so busy propping up dictators in other countries that we’ve forgotten we might be subject to one ourselves.  That fate is now just the flip of a coin away. 

Majority Support Libertarian Inclusion in Debates

Open Debates issued this press release today.

MAJORITY OF VOTERS SUPPORT INCLUSION OF THIRD PARTY CANDIDATE BOB BARR IN DEBATES

For Immediate Release

September 5, 2008

Contact: George Farah

Washington, D.C. – The majority of likely voters support the inclusion of Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr in the 2008 presidential debates.

A Zogby poll has found that 55% of likely voters want to see former Congressman Bob Barr participate in the upcoming presidential debates with Republican nominee John McCain and Democratic nominee Barack Obama. The Zogby also poll found that 45% of likely voters supported the inclusion of independent candidate Ralph Nader in the presidential debates. However, despite support from a majority of likely voters for Bob Barr’s inclusion, Barr will be excluded from the presidential debates. The Commission on Presidential Debates, a creation of the Republican and Democratic parties, established candidate selection criteria that ensure that only the major party candidates will be eligible to participate in the debates.

“The Commission on Presidential Debates should serve the interests of the American people, not the interests of the two major parties,” said George Farah, executive director of Open Debates. “The Commission on Presidential Debates should include candidates that a majority of Americans want to see participate in the debates.”

The Commission on Presidential Debates was created by and for the Republican and Democratic Parties. In 1986, the Republican and Democratic National Committees ratified an agreement “to take over the presidential debates” from the League of Women Voters. Fifteen months later, then-Republican Party chair Frank Fahrenkopf and then-Democratic Party chair Paul Kirk incorporated the Commission on Presidential Debates. Fahrenkopf and Kirk still co-chair the Commission on Presidential Debates, and every four years, it excludes candidates that most voters want to see debate.

read more | digg story

I don’t think enough can be said about this subject. Pundits talk endlessly, day in and day out, about The Will of the People. Shall we disregard the will of the people on this subject, then?

How can there be informed consent, or free and fair elections, when the true breadth of opinion on politics is excluded from open debate?

Bizarre Polling Point Poll

I’ve gotten onto several polling lists of late; probably because I have time to respond to them these days. Polling Point sent me a weird one the other day. Mixed in with the usual “Who did you vote for last election?” and “What party are you affiliated with?” type questions (as well as race and other questions that I routinely abstain from answering if I can) was a little gem that went something like:

“Should an illegal immigrant be able to apply for citizenship if he has graduated a U.S. High School, has had no major convictions, and has enrolled in the Military or College?”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t understand how anyone who has lived in the U.S. for long enough that he can graduate High School shouldn’t be considered a citizen just on basic principles. Much less if he plans to attend college or join the military.

“You graduated High School? Hell that’s better than a good portion of the children of citizens around here. Come on into the clubhouse!”

Never mind the legal fiction that is the concept of illegal alien in the first place. If you live in a place, you are a citizen of that place. The ability to document your residency should be irrelevant. How many white skinned people get deported back to Europe because they can’t produce documentation to prove they are here legally? I rest my case.

In Polling Points defense, in most polls they offer a comments dialog so that you can give them your opinion of the poll after you’ve taken it. I wrote this on the poll today:

Like all ballot issues, the description of the bills I would vote on go beyond confusing. Clear and plain English should be the requirement.

Ron Paul should be listed as a candidate in the Republican party. It is an !outrage! that he is not.

Left/Right does not accurately describe political views; http://www.theadvocates.org/ check out the World’s Smallest Political Quiz for more info.

Race is an illusion. There are no separate races inside the human race. ‘None’ should be an options for those of us who do not claim a race as an identifier.

Atheism is not a religion.

I could go on, but I think I’ve said enough.

Yes, I do rant just about everywhere I go. It’s a burden, let me tell you.

Polling Point – More Point Than Poll

Got an invite to do a Polling Point poll again a few days ago. This one, while more in depth than most, was still as infantile as most of the previous ones have been. So I decided to wax poetic in the “what can we do to improve this poll” dialog box.


Political views cannot be accurately expressed on a left-right line. It is a basic mathematical principle that it takes (at least) two bits of data to place something on a graphical scale. The only logical political scale that has ever been created is this one: World’s Smallest Political Quiz

Additionally, there are far more than two candidates for the office of governor in Texas. There are at least 5, including two independents and a Libertarian. Everyone even slightly tuned into the news knows this. There are three candidates for house district 25, as even the Wiki shows http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas’s_25th_congressional_district.

I have grave doubts as to the nature of this poll, and strongly suspect (as I have for many other Polling Point polls) that the questions are weighted in an attempt to skew the results.

When I responded to the question of party affiliation that I was “Other:Libertarian” I was presented with two pages of wheedling, a transparent attempt to skew my views into one of the left-right camps. I am in neither camp, I am a libertarian; a free-thinking, tax hating, liberty loving individual; and I resent the juvenile approach to politics that insists there is only one right answer to a problem, and two parties are enough to cover all answers.

If you can’t construct polls that attempt to take all views into account, then you devalue the worth of your own polls. It only makes good business sense, from a pollster’s standpoint, to create the most unbiased polls possible.

That would be an unprecedented improvement in my history of taking polls at Polling Point.


2017; There is a game theory explanation as to why any choices other than the top two are irrelevant in standard plurality voting methods; but addressing that here would just be clouding the legitimate complaint as to why the polls would not include minority view candidates.