Polls can’t predict – but they can warn. And I’m not sure our horserace-obsessed media are heeding the warning

One of the things these numbers suggest is that the journalists are not getting the truth across to citizens on some key points (or if they are, that truth is being ignored).

The poll respondents claim that one of their big concerns is the economy. If that’s the case, they should be happy with Biden. Among the factors: low inflation, significant growth and low unemployment. Paul Krugman, the Nobel laureate economist, wrote recently: “The economic news in 2023 was almost miraculously good.” (Even the cost of a classic Thanksgiving dinner, he notes, was down 4.5% last year.)

If the economy is that strong and that important to voters – and if Biden can take at least some of the credit – why isn’t it coming across? That’s something for the Biden campaign, primarily; but it’s also something for media people since journalists are supposed to be communicating information so that citizens can vote with knowledge. That should be a higher priority than generating profits, ratings and clicks, but one eventually despairs that it ever will be.

Another major voter concern, of course, is Biden’s age. He’s 81; Trump will be 78 in June. They’re both old; both have memory gaps and both exhibit confusion at times.

Only one of them, however, talks about some migrants as “animals” or predicts a “bloodbath” for the country if he loses. Only one is facing dozens of charges related to crimes including trying to overturn a legitimate election. Only one has promised to be a dictator on day one of his presidency and only one has allies that are meticulously plotting a radical revamping of how America works.

  • @DevCat
    link
    721 month ago

    The press has learned that “engagement” is the only way for them to survive. The problem is that they are generating a false narrative to attract more viewers. Basically, it’s become clickbait. They refuse to show all the information because then voters would see it and stop viewing them daily.

    • @givesomefucks
      link
      English
      32
      edit-2
      1 month ago

      The press

      Bruh. Do you even know who wrote this article?

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Sullivan_(journalist)

      Like, she was the public editor of the NY Times during that election…

      And this whole article is about how she still doesn’t even know the basics of polling like margin of error.

      If you were surprised Hillary lost in 2016, the only journalists you should be mad at is ones like this author who just kept telling everyone Clinton was a sure thing and Trump couldn’t possibly win

      Which is the same situation this election with Biden, except his numbers are even worse

      • blargerer
        link
        fedilink
        101 month ago

        Being surprised Clinton lost in 2016 is fine; she was the favourite to win. That’s just different from it being a sure thing, which this author doesn’t seem to understand.

        • @givesomefucks
          link
          English
          81 month ago

          The numbers had her winning a few states by like 2-3%, with 5% margins of error a month out from the election.

          If someone was surprised she lost those states after going to California of all states for a victory lap while trump campaigned in those close ones…

          Then we should not listen to their advice after telling us they still don’t understand statistics.

          This isn’t just some random person, she is a famous journalist with a nationwide platform who seems to think ignorance and zero standards is the best path forward.

          The fact that she supports democrats over republicans makes this more concerning, not less.

          If the only two options are both like this, it won’t be long till we have no options.

  • @givesomefucks
    link
    English
    281 month ago

    I learned the hard way to be skeptical about the predictive power of public opinion polls.

    I remember election night 2016 all too well, as I hit delete on my partially pre-written Washington Post column and instead tried to look into the future of a Trump presidency. It was a future that wasn’t supposed to happen

    Polls weren’t wrong…

    It’s just way too many people who call themselves “political experts” only looked at popular vote polls because they’re lazy and don’t know what they’re doing. If they did look at state polls, they had no idea what magin of error means, and people learn that in highschool math without ever taking a stats class.

    The 2016 election results were literally in range of predictions for 2016.

    Clinton was never a sure thing, but journalists like the one who wrote this article just kept screeching at anyone trying to explain that to them.

    Just like this same journalist is still doing 8 years later when people say Biden isn’t popular.

    They haven’t learned a fucking thing. And they never will.

    • @[email protected]
      link
      fedilink
      51 month ago

      Part of it is that people want to vote for the winner. So by repeating the narrative that there candidate will be the winner encourages others to want to vote for that person….

      But the polls of Hillary versus actual outcome were absolutely within the margin of error

      • @givesomefucks
        link
        English
        121 month ago

        Nah.

        They want blind loyalty to the party, zero criticisms allowed and 100% votes from every party member.

        She’s no different than Faux News talking heads telling her viewers to disregard all science and only believe her opinion.

        Just because she can’t understand polling doesn’t mean polling is worthless. But I’ve seen far too many people on here claim the same thing lately.

        It’s dangerous to give these anti science nutjobs a platform, and statistics is a science no matter how much some people disagree with the results.

        • kbin_space_program
          link
          fedilink
          2
          edit-2
          1 month ago

          The trick to the 2016 polls is that they assumed that the rust belt would be wholly democratic, as it had always been. The Hillary team ignored them completely and was trying to flip Texas. Biden got lucky in 2020 in the rust belt. Trump is spending a lot of time campaigning there again.

          And the Democratic party brass are still focusing on flipping Texas, 8 years later.

    • @go_go_gadget
      link
      -24
      edit-2
      1 month ago

      It’s also a failure of Biden.

      EDIT: Most powerful person on the planet, zero responsibility for his own decisions got it. /s

        • @go_go_gadget
          link
          -231 month ago

          Do you ever take a break from defending a career politician and a shit human being?

            • @go_go_gadget
              link
              -17
              edit-2
              1 month ago

              If you want Biden to win then figure out how to get him to make material compromises with progressives or leftists.

              EDIT: Look at all these Trump supporters!!

              • @[email protected]
                link
                fedilink
                51 month ago

                So…. You’re completely fine to hold democracy hostage unless he meets your demands?

                This is why people won’t take you seriously.

                • @[email protected]
                  link
                  fedilink
                  -31 month ago

                  Biden decided that it was more important to commit a genocide then to prevent Trump from likely winning.

                  It’s not the people unwilling to vote for someone committing genocide that is holding the Presidency hostage.

                  Israel has doctors amputating Gazan prisoners limbs off because their limbs have died from being zip tied for months on end.

                  That is what you’re supporting.

                • @go_go_gadget
                  link
                  -51 month ago

                  This is why people won’t take you seriously.

                  You sure? This is regularly why people take liberal and moderate voters seriously.

          • @[email protected]
            link
            fedilink
            121 month ago

            I’m not defending him. I’m just not suggesting he’s just as bad as his opposition like you claim- and that apparently is the same thing as defending him in the eyes of propagandists.

            • @go_go_gadget
              link
              -71 month ago

              I’m just not suggesting he’s just as bad as his opposition like you claim

              Quote me saying that.

              • @[email protected]
                link
                fedilink
                51 month ago

                Your comment history is FULL of you doing nothing but complaining about Biden. You should be more careful to hide your biases.

            • @shimdidly
              link
              -251 month ago

              There is no comparison between Trump and Biden. Not this time. Biden weaponizing the judiciary, DOJ, FBI to attack his political opponent in kangaroo court trials.

              Trump says he’s willing to go to jail and “be the next Nelson Mandela” if that’s what it takes to save this country.

              I’ll probably get banned for saying this. So be it. Enjoy your echo chamber. That’s why you’re all Blind and Deaf.

              • @Veneroso
                link
                151 month ago

                Can you imagine if Obama did January 6th? You people would burst into flames!

                Remember, if Trump is immune, so is Biden, Obama, Clinton, and Hillary! Oh Hilary wasn’t president? You sure about that? Lol.

              • @[email protected]
                link
                fedilink
                71 month ago

                Hahaha OK I have to update: this is the most shit take I’ve seen on Lemmy so far.

                Truly the dumbest garbage. How did did you manage to register here? After all you have to be able to type your password twice in a row.

              • @[email protected]
                link
                fedilink
                51 month ago

                You’d have to be blind, deaf, and dumb in both senses of the term to believe any of this. Like, bro, you’re on the internet. You can learn all about Trump there, good and bad, and there’s tons of bad, even before his sojourn into politics.

                You and all the other MAGAs are getting scammed so hard and the rest of us are just astounded that not only are you falling for it, you’re actively fighting to get scammed some more. It’s like watching a man kick the shit out of himself while screaming about how he’s winning.

              • @Feathercrown
                link
                English
                41 month ago

                LOL and he reveals his true self at last. Blocked.

              • @JustZ
                link
                21 month ago

                Absolute dumbass.

  • @assassin_aragorn
    link
    161 month ago

    The methodology and sampling of polls needs to be scrutinized. The NYT poll from a while back showing Trump +3-4% was incredibly sus. It had a very large rural presence in the sample, and the poll itself suggested that women were split 50/50 on Trump. Given how races have gone post Dobbs, that feels highly unrealistic.

    Polls are only as good as their methodology. Frankly, I think many aren’t representative. We shouldn’t be complacent about things, but I think we are flying blind.

    • @[email protected]
      link
      fedilink
      131 month ago

      They also call landline numbers - which is why it skews rural and dumbass. Anecdotally, every person I know where I live who has a landline fits many of the Trump/Boomer stereotypes. Their cellphone is their backup number and they don’t give it out because they still believe they are paying for each minute even though they have unlimited voice and text.

  • @carl_dungeon
    link
    English
    101 month ago

    I’m starting to feel like if that many people want him, then they fucking deserve him

    • @ThePyroPython
      link
      101 month ago

      Get your guns and your non-perishable food and tradable commodities that don’t require special storage.

      And be prepared to hunker down if shit really does hit the fan when he gets back in.

      • @nomous
        link
        11
        edit-2
        1 month ago

        Everyone think back to the height of pandemic. The lockdowns, virtual all social functions stopping, talk of “curfews.” Shortages of all kinds of normal items, stores were rationing toilet paper lol.

        Imagine that but for years.

        I tell people as often as I can, especially my trans and BIPOC friends: Now is the time, get a couple guns (a long one and a short one) and learn how to use them. Learn a little first aid, you just need to know how to stabilize someone. Start networking with like-minded people in your community. The police will not protect us, they’ve shown they’ll happily shoot us in the face with rubber bullets and club senior citizens to the ground. If a caravan of MAGAts visits your neighborhood with bad intentions you’ll find no support from those in power.

    • @skeezix
      link
      -51 month ago

      Came here to say this. A society gets the leaders it deserves.

      • @[email protected]
        link
        fedilink
        161 month ago

        Bullshit. There’s millions of people that don’t deserve him. Blanket observations are ignorant at best- and dangerous at worst.

        • @force
          link
          11
          edit-2
          1 month ago

          Yeah it made me pretty pissed when people were saying this same shit after right below 50% of votes were for staying in the EU but Brexit happened anyways. “All the British suck and deserve <negative effect of Brexit that’s occurring> since they voted for it” no stfu, most of the population didn’t even want it

        • syllogi
          link
          fedilink
          8
          edit-2
          1 month ago

          It’s also not even like it’s only Americans whose lives will be directly affected by the next election but millions of migrants, Palestinians, Ukrainians and God knows how many more. So talk about the privilege of this comment, not to mention the dismissal of the half the country who doesn’t want a return to 2020, to just throw the rest of the world under the bus because some may deserve it.

      • @[email protected]
        link
        fedilink
        English
        61 month ago

        This is a nonsensical statement considering the person who got the most votes even in 2016 was Hillary. If we got the leader we deserved, we never would have gotten Trump.

        The problem is that we have a fundamentally undemocratic electoral college system that prioritizes the votes of certain citizens over the votes of other citizens.

      • FenrirIII
        link
        11 month ago

        And then people suffer needlessly unless they choose violence

      • @Ultragigagigantic
        link
        11 month ago

        blaming the victim of a first past the post electoral system? How american of you

  • @Maggoty
    link
    91 month ago

    Green line go up became a meme 20 years ago when Bush tried to take a victory lap on low inflation and stock increases.

    Stop using indicators that don’t matter to the average American. Those are measurements for economists to look at the top level picture, not for measuring the standard of living for the majority of Americans.

  • blargerer
    link
    fedilink
    41 month ago

    ‘polls can’t predict’ ??? its their chief function.

    • @reddig33
      link
      81 month ago

      Might be their purpose, but they’re done so shittily these days they can’t be relied on. When was the last time you were polled? Do you have a landline? Do you answer unknown numbers on your cell? Do you go to the mall?

      • @HoustonHenry
        link
        31 month ago

        Agreed! IIRC, Boomers are the largest population that still has landlines. Thats just one reason I don’t really pay any attention to polls

  • AutoTL;DRB
    link
    fedilink
    English
    21 month ago

    This is the best summary I could come up with:


    I remember election night 2016 all too well, as I hit delete on my partially pre-written Washington Post column and instead tried to look into the future of a Trump presidency.

    Given that searing memory, I reacted to the recent much-trumpeted Wall Street Journal poll about the 2024 presidential race with, well, not exactly a shrug, but not a primal scream either.

    That was the poll that said Donald Trump is leading Joe Biden in six of seven crucial battleground states, the very ones most likely to determine who gets elected in November.

    The former president is ahead, according to the Journal’s poll, in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina; the two candidates are tied in Wisconsin.

    Paul Krugman, the Nobel laureate economist, wrote recently: “The economic news in 2023 was almost miraculously good.” (Even the cost of a classic Thanksgiving dinner, he notes, was down 4.5% last year.)

    And I do take seriously the analysis by Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, who looked at the Journal poll and several others, comparing them with earlier ones, and concluding that Biden is making slow, uneven progress.


    The original article contains 742 words, the summary contains 188 words. Saved 75%. I’m a bot and I’m open source!

  • @[email protected]
    link
    fedilink
    -81 month ago

    Biden keeps giving weapons to Israel so they can kill more brown people and these people are like “Gee it’s the fucking press’ fault”. All those uncommitted votes and not one mention of Palestine in the entire article.

      • @go_go_gadget
        link
        11 month ago

        TBF to the press they did cover the uncommitted votes in the primary. Moderates and liberals just decided they didn’t want to take it seriously. They shrugged and said “They’ll vote for Biden when the time comes.”

    • @EmpathicVagrant
      link
      11 month ago

      Is your last line not agreeing that it’s the fault of the press that the issue driving the votes isn’t being talked about?

        • @EmpathicVagrant
          link
          21 month ago

          If that’s the case, you’re saying

          People shouldn’t blame the press, because it’s the fault of the press

          • @[email protected]
            link
            fedilink
            -3
            edit-2
            1 month ago

            Did you read the article bro? It’s obvious what I’ve meant. Is English your second language or something?

            Edit: fuck it I’ll spell it out. The article is blaming the press for not telling people more about Biden administration’s achievements. But the uncommitted votas have shown that a lot of people are not voting for Biden because of the ongoing genocide. And not one mention of it in the article. So I’m not blaming the press for Biden’s poor performance. I’m calling them delusional to think that it’s because of that. Please read the article next time before commenting.

      • @go_go_gadget
        link
        -41 month ago

        I mean it has been covered. People just ignore it. I’m still getting accused of being a Russian plant even after thousands of votes were cast for uncommitted. Either those votes were cast by Russians or those people don’t have internet I guess.

  • @shimdidly
    link
    -311 month ago

    Glad to see my boy Trump doing so well. Go get em, tiger.

    • @[email protected]
      link
      fedilink
      171 month ago

      Obvious troll is obvious.

      Maybe up your game a little, even Trump isn’t this stupid and lazy.