Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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Why Polls Don’t Matter

The Left Wing is in a tizzy because Donald Trump—now a born-again culture conservative and purveyor of myths even the birthers won’t touch—is leading (PDF) the GOP presidential field.

Almost every month, the top four candidates have been in a statistical tie, with various candidates jockeying back and forth for slim leads.  But for the first time in three months, when Mike Huckabee had a ten-point lead over Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin, PPP has found a candidate who puts serious distance between himself and the rest of the field: Donald Trump.

Trump leads with 26% over Huckabee’s 17%, Romney’s 15%, Newt Gingrich’s 11%, Palin’s 8%, Ron Paul’s 5%, and Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann’s 4%.

OMG!!  Trump is leading the GOP field.  It’s the end of the world.  The Republicans are all racist birthers!

Um, no.  The PPP polls is next to useless.  Concentrate on the important number up there: 26% The Donald does not even command a majority of GOP support.  He has an unconstrained plurality among eight different candidates.  Name recognition and the stimulation of birther enthusiasm can explain all of that.  If we get into the debates and it becomes clear that Trump doesn’t know fuck all, if we get to the point where his shady personal and financial history have come up, and he still leads the field (with something interesting like 40% against two other candidates), then we can panic.

Polls a year and a half before an election are stupid, anyway.  Four years ago, Hillary and Rudy Giuliani were guaranteed to face off in 2008.  Four years before that, Howard Dean was going to be the Democratic challenger.  Four years earlier, John McCain was going to be the next President.  By this point in 1991, no one had heard of Bill Clinton.  By this point in 1975, no one had heard of Jimmy Carter (and by this point in 1979, everyone wished they still hadn’t.)

Polls mean shit.  Early polls mean shit.  Unconstrained pluralities with eight names mean shit.  PPP is giving the Donald the only thing he really wants out of this election—attention.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/18/11 at 11:09 AM in Polls and Surveys • Permalink

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