THURSDAY, MAY 20, 2021
Also, defund the pollsters: Joe Biden managed to win the White House, but Democrats did surprisingly poorly in last November's House elections.
The party clings to a narrow majority in the House. In this morning's Washington Post, Paul Kane reports on the party's attempt to figure out why. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney was put in charge of the project.
Let's ignore Maloney's complaints about the way the slogan, "Defund the police," was subjected to "lies" by the Others. Instead, let's focus on an apparent second claim—in part, Democratic candidates were undermined by bad polling.
Did bad polling do the Democrats in? Kane offers a puzzling example:
KANE (5/20/21): Maloney’s “Deep Dive” had to both review past mistakes while helping prepare for the fast-approaching midterm elections, when the majority could very easily slip away.
Polling missed the Trump surge at the very end.
In one of three very competitive Iowa races, a final poll predicted that Democrats who were not frequent voters would make up 5 percent of the total electorate, while similarly low-turnout Republicans would account for just 4 percent of voters.
In reality, 5.9 percent of voters were low-propensity Republicans and just 4.7 percent were infrequent Democratic voters, providing the narrow margin of victory for the GOP candidate.
What a strange example! According to Kane, polling in one Iowa district said that 5 percent of the turnout would be low propensity Democrats. In fact, the number turned out to be only 4.7 percent!
That strikes us as amazingly high-precision polling. In Kane's report, it's offered as one of two examples of the ways Democrats were done in by faulty polling.
That example of lousy polling made no sense at all. Similarly, we were puzzled by something we read in the New York Times about progressive teen-aged activists.
According to Ellen Barry's report, the uncontrollable youngsters are mucking things up for Massachusetts Democrats. Along the way, Barry offered this weird description of Senator Ed Markey, an original favorite in whom the young activists are now disappointed:
BARRY (5/20/21): Though Mr. Markey’s voting record on foreign policy was no secret—he voted to authorize the occupation of Iraq in 2002, for example—it had faded into the background in their embrace of his candidacy, which focused heavily on his record on climate. Now, the group chats and Slack channels that comprise the Markeyverse were flooded with emotion, disappointment and betrayal.
Markey "voted to authorize the occupation of Iraq in 2002?" Are we talking about the occupation once known as "the war in Iraq?"
We don't think we've ever seen that unfortunate vote described in so forgiving a way. Truly, we think we see something new every day!
Whatever intentions lay behind it, "Defund the police" was an ill-advised slogan. No one had to "lie" about it, although some people probably did.
Meanwhile, the polling in that Iowa district sounds amazingly sharp. Who knows where the news comes from in this best of all possible towns?