Thursday, March 10, 2016

Polls Are On Time-Out Until Next Wednesday

Remember this Hillary HQ headline from a couple weeks ago?

Clinton Will Crush Sanders in South Carolina, But It's Only the Beginning

Boy, that was fun to write! And the best part is that Hillary crushed Bernie in South Carolina more than most polls predicted, and the southern wins on Super Tuesday were similarly impressive.

And how about this follow-up?

More Huge Clinton Wins Are Right Around the Corner

It was definitely a blast when Louisiana and Mississippi proved me right, and the odds of Clinton winning most of next week's states seem just as good as ever.

But in the midst of all of this pre-celebrating, there was one very problematic line:

"Hillary Clinton has a greater than 99% chance of winning the Michigan primary."

Ouch. That was certainly not fun.

Of course, "greater than 99% chance" was not my prediction, but rather that of Nate Silver's generally flawless But we can't even really blame them either, because all the polls were telling us that Clinton was headed for a 20-point win there. Hell, a seemingly reputable election eve poll actually had her up by 37 points! 

There are surely many reasons why the polls were wrong in Michigan, but I'll let the polling professionals figure all that out. To me, it's all about the contests next week and beyond...and as far as I'm concerned, there's one big thing that we must avoid: complacency. 

I have zero doubt that one of the reasons Hillary lost Michigan was because her supporters saw the recent landslide wins and double digit poll leads and thought "meh, she's got this...I don't need to vote." This sort of thinking surely led others to switch over to vote against Trump in the Republican primary. 

Meanwhile, Sanders supporters knew that Michigan was a must-win state and turned out as if their candidate depended on it to survive...because he did.

And look what happened.

But as disappointing as the Michigan result was, we can turn it into a positive and very valuable lesson to us all...both in the upcoming primary states and for the general election this fall. Namely, Hillary hasn't won this thing until she's actually won this thing so don't take anything for granted. Work as hard as you did before she took the delegate lead in Nevada and South Carolina. Keep supporting Hillary on social media and in person. Donate.

But most of all...VOTE, damn it!

Early voting for next week's contests is taking place in Florida, Ohio, Illinois and North Carolina. It's even going on in Arizona for their contest on the 22nd. Clinton will need to collect as many delegates in these states and Missouri as possible in order to offset some likely caucus losses in the coming weeks.

If anyone does want to look at the polls and win odds for the upcoming contests, feel free. But pre-celebratory posts about polls are on official time-out at Hillary HQ until the day after next week's Super Tuesday II...and maybe beyond.

Because Hillary hasn't won this thing until she's actually won this thing.