Friday, January 22, 2016

President Ben Carson Urges You to be Skeptical of General Election Polls

"Missed it by THAT much."
Bernie Sanders doesn't have much in common with Donald Trump. But one thing they do share is a habit of boasting about the latest poll numbers in their stump speeches and social media.

For example:

Of course, Donald is focusing on primary numbers instead of general election numbers because he's getting stomped by both Hillary and Bernie. Conversely, Bernie is generally getting hammered by Hillary in most national and state polls other than Iowa and New Hampshire, so focusing on the general election makes sense.

However, general election numbers this early often don't make a lot of sense and can go south as soon as the candidate gets more scrutiny. Case in point: Dr. Ben Carson.
For several months last year, poll after poll kept saying that Carson was easily the strongest general election candidate for the Republicans. Sometimes he even had crazy double-digit leads over Clinton. Was it just that he seemed like a nice guy? Maybe his name had a nice ring to it? I really don't know. I'm still mystified by that whole thing.

However, as soon as the press started taking his candidacy seriously, his flaws became apparent and he fell apart rather quickly.

Similarly, the press has just recently started to take a hard look at Bernie Sanders and ask some good questions about what his plans are, how much they would cost, and how they would be implemented. These are actually really excellent questions to ask right about now. It's called "vetting", and doing it before the nominating contests begin is a good thing for all involved.

Whether Sanders' general election poll numbers change in the coming weeks as a result of the added attention remains to be seen, but to boast about them now as a central campaign argument is a precarious endeavor. They may be comforting, but they can change pretty quickly when the going gets rough. And if you've followed American elections for a while, you know it will get rough.
Trust me...I speak from experience.


  1. I'd vote for Bernie if he were the nominee but the GOP would have a field day with him. Trust me, it would not be pretty. Why do you think Karl Rove and GOP superPACs are spending money to help Bernie and hurt Hillary? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.

    1. The GOP knows who the strongest Dem candidate will be in November...and it shows.