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A Very Important Poll Detail

 Member Newsletter
May 24, 2024 1:05 p.m.

I want to commend to your attention this article from Nate Cohn at the Times. It looks at the weak point for the NYT-Siena poll, and, indeed, many other polls this election cycle. In short, Donald Trump’s current lead is heavily focused on people who didn’t vote in 2020 and tend not to vote in general. They tend not to follow politics closely or pay much attention to traditional news sources. This isn’t new to our discussion. It’s sort of the internal anatomy of the gap between polls of registered voters and likely voters.

This is a fairly big deal. It has always struck me as inherently unlikely that what many suspect will be a relatively low turnout election (relative to recent cycles) will be determined by voters who tend not to vote and didn’t vote in 2020 — voters who, in this election, are supporting Trump in greater numbers. It’s not impossible. But it’s hard to figure. And this is what Trump’s current lead in most polls is based on. To be clear, this isn’t some hidden defect in the NYT-Siena poll or Cohn’s earlier logic. He’s discussed this issue throughout. And this article today focuses on it.

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