Monday, November 16, 2015

Post #16: The second week of November

The GOP: This week, Festivus comes early and I will begin with The Airing of Grievances, foregoing for the time being The Feats of Strength.

I write this blog because I dislike the way numbers are treated by the vast majority of the press. I will readily admit that Nate Silver's website has been a step in the right direction, but it's more like a stutter step, sometimes pushing the numbers harder than they should be pushed, and all too often concerned with nonsense and what looks like product placement. Still, compared to most media, they look good.

That's enough ragging with caveats on Nate Silver for the time being, let's get to the main press.

I have read WAY too many articles calling Ben Carson the front runner. If you look at the big picture, he's been in second place since late August and never in first when you take the averages of polls instead of being dazzled by bright, shiny outliers.

If we look at this week's results, Carson's numbers took their second consecutive week of beatings, which might be explained by his odd statements and his time spent on the defensive, but I have my doubts. This week had only three GOP polls, one of them from the extremely suspicious polling company Rasmussen. On the Republican side, we often have six or more polls, so the data this week is suspect for me both for the quantity and quality of polling.

Rasmussen has stunk the joint out in the general election, always in the bag for the right wing, but in this poll they are suspicious for how little work they were willing to do. Instead of giving numbers for the whole field, they only marked the responses for Trump, Carson, Rubio, Cruz, Bush and Fiorina. While I they are currently the top six, I'm not convinced all the rest of the candidates can be buried quietly yet, especially Mike Huckabee, who I think can speak to the mean yokel Christians in a language even Ted 'The Snake' Cruz hasn't quite mastered.

Politicians vs Non-Politicians: It looks like a good week for non-politicians as their numbers tick upwards, but it's really a good week for None of the Above.  If the supposed trend we are seeing for Ben Carson is true, expect the Non-Politician trend to suffer as well as we head towards Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and the Winter Solstice.

(Is there a holiday I'm forgetting in that time period? I forget.)
The Democrats: One thing I will say for the Democrats, their poll numbers are easy to read in graph format. It's still Hillary first, Bernie second and then O'Malley WAY behind. In the two weeks since the polling companies stopped asking about Biden, Chafee and Webb, Sanders has seen the biggest point increase as the None of the Above vote has waned. Bernie can last a very long time with cash he has, but the proof of the pudding will be if he can win New Hampshire, which is not a sure bet.

More info next week, assuming the polling companies get off their duffs and give us some numbers.

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