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What Do Polls Tell Us?

January 31, 2020 11:40 a.m.
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Let me share with you some thoughts about polls and how they relate to the impending Democratic presidential primary process.

Let me start with some core assumptions. First is that I think Bernie Sanders has a range of electoral vulnerabilities that makes President Trump’s reelection far more likely if Sanders is the nominee. I think this is the case because he supports a number of policies that just are not popular and are tailor made for attacks disqualifying him with the general electorate. There’s also a history of identification and left cultural politics that are also tailor-made for the kind of attack ads that can disqualify a candidate.

But there’s at least some problem with my reasoning. As I’ve told you again and again, people discount polls at their peril. They are imperfect and they measure a fluid reality. But they are one of the key metrics that allow us to step outside our assumptions, personal milieu, region, ideology and see what the whole country actually thinks.

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