Some lessons concerning predictions: According to Ed Kilgore, Donald J. Trump has made some gains in one new poll.
Kilgore's post, for New York magazine, starts exactly like this:
KILGORE (1/31/18): It’s just one poll from one polling outlet (albeit one given an A+ rating for accuracy and sound methodology by FiveThirtyEight). But for Democrats already concerned about the love shown the president in snap polls following last night’s State of the Union Address, the first 2018 national survey from Monmouth University lands like a punch in the mouth.As Kilgore notes, "it's just one poll." This one new poll could always turn out to be a major outlier.
Compared to its December poll, the new results (taken from interviews between January 28 and January 30) show big gains for both Trump and his party among registered voters. His December job approval rating, at 32 percent, was his lowest since taking office according to Monmouth’s temperature readings. Now it has bounced up to 42 percent. Similarly, in December the GOP tax bill was notably unpopular, with 26 percent approving of it and 47 percent disapproving. Now opinions on the bill, after lots of hype about bonuses and cuts in tax withholding, are dead even at 44/44.
Worst of all for Dems, a 15-point advantage in the generic congressional ballot in December (51/36) is now down to two points (47/45). This equals the smallest Democratic advantage in any poll since the beginning of the current election cycle.
Then again, this one new poll could turn out to be a harbinger. Similar polls may follow. Below, we draw two quick award-winning lessons.
American pundits, including corporate liberal pundits, never tire of wasting time on polls:
On the cable channel which is designed to make us liberals feel good, we've been hearing about the Democratic advantage on that generic congressional poll for some time now.
So far out from November 2018, this has always been stupid. That said, Stupid is one of the basic products we are constantly sold.
Right through the weekend before the November 2016 election. we were given persistent bad advice about the Trump-Clinton polls. As soon as we were failed by those polls, we started wasting time pretending to analyze the polls for 2018.
Kornacki was placed before "the big board" again. This isn't Kornacki's doing.
This conduct is very, very dumb. But Dumb is our tribe's middle name.
(Remember the period in early 2013 when MSNBC pundits kept regaling us with news about Hillary Clinton's stunningly high approvals? We were encouraged to party and play. Many of those pundits are gone. They were very dumb.)
We need to learn how to talk to the public:
Kilgore refers to "lots of hype about bonuses and cuts in tax withholding." Donald J. Trump has also engaged in lots of hype about the fabulous economy he has brilliantly produced.
Some of that hype was recently reflected in the fifteen pro-Trump letters the New York Times chose to run two weeks back. One letter after another talked about the way the policies of Donald J. Trump had produced a booming economy.
The next day, the New York Times selected seven letters from Trump detractors which it ran in rebuttal. None of the letters addressed any issue of substance—and it's easy to show that the economy was making gains under Obama which match those made under Trump.
Obviously, one day worth of letters would make no difference concerning overall views of Trump. But the seven letters the Times chose to run told us something about that addled, ridiculous newspaper.
The New York Times has little idea what an actual "forum" looks like. It prefers to run insulting reports about Trump's wife, along with brain-dead, two-page lists of Trump's past year of insults.
We liberals think this is way cool. Everyone else thinks this proves what Trump says about the Times.
We're lazy and dumb and nobody likes us. Few things could be more clear.