Elections have consequences for parties—and now, for polling.Polling is integral to everything we do in politics. A must read.
An industry accustomed to unquestioned respect that had struggled quietly against its mounting demons for the previous few election cycles is facing an intervention post-2012. A decades-old method of gauging a person’s likeliness to cast a vote for president failed. The resulting gap between some pre-election ballot tests and the actual outcome shook those pollsters including the oldest brand in the business, Gallup.
A robopoll—an automated survey involving no person-to-person contact—mirrored the final results as closely as any set of live interviews.
And by offering a shortcut through the glut, Nate Silver and other poll aggregators became what pollsters once were, our national tea-leaf readers, while diminishing the value of accurate individual surveys.
Pollsters, meet Jesus.
More Willner, different article:
The likely voter models used by many pollsters to ascertain which respondents are probably going to turn out for an election seemed to conk out in 2012. A new study by one of the industry’s most respected professionals, to be accompanied by R&D on a new likely voter model, finds that the mid-20th century vehicle was no match for 21st-century demographics and targeting.Here's an example from The Fix:
As The Fix’s Aaron Blake noted this morning, polls routinely show that the public is in favor of increasing the minimum wage. A Public Religion Research Institute poll in 2010 showed that two-thirds of Americans would like to see the minimum wage at $10 an hour — including half of Republicans.
WaPo on the PR agency behind the NRA:
Ackerman McQueen has managed the NRA’s image and helped fight its political wars for more than 30 years. The ad agency played a pivotal role in its transformation from a sportsman’s group to one of Washington’s most powerful lobbying organizations, shaping a message rooted in uncompromising combativeness, securing its influence inside the NRA and reaping millions of dollars in contracts.Greg Mitchell:
Daryl Hannah (left) was one of several prominent folks arrested at the big Keystone XL protest at the White House today. Others includes Robert Kennedy Jr. and Bill McKibben. They tied themselves to gate. And dig this: "Executive director Michael Brune is the first Sierra Club leader in the group's 120-year history to be arrested in an act of civil disobedience. The club's board of directors approved the action as a sign of their opposition to the $7 billion pipeline, which would carry oil derived from tar sands in western Canada to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast."
Martin Peretz, former editor has a sad about The New Republic... in the WSJ:
There is something strange about Chris Hughes's journalistic vision. He has said in public and to me that he intended for the magazine no longer to be known as a liberal journal, for it not to take up only one side of an issue. Fair enough. An earnest expression of this sentiment is the fact that the magazine has stopped publishing editorials.Charles Blow:
But maybe editorials are no longer needed, given the articles themselves. The magazine now seems to live in a space where those "little insurrections of the mind" are unwelcome. It is akin to the atmosphere in many colleges and universities: There are prevailing orthodoxies but they aren't recognized as such. Mr. Obama himself is the main one. The president is an object of fealty at the New Republic in a way that Woodrow Wilson and even Franklin Roosevelt never were.
Is this the real Barack Obama? I hope so. I like this one.Declan Butler/Nature:
When influenza hit early and hard in the United States this year, it quietly claimed an unacknowledged victim: one of the cutting-edge techniques being used to monitor the outbreak. A comparison with traditional surveillance data showed that Google Flu Trends, which estimates prevalence from flu-related Internet searches, had drastically overestimated peak flu levels. The glitch is no more than a temporary setback for a promising strategy, experts say, and Google is sure to refine its algorithms. But as flu-tracking techniques based on mining of web data and on social media proliferate, the episode is a reminder that they will complement, but not substitute for, traditional epidemiological surveillance networks.Politico:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Wednesday moved to end the Senate debate on whether to confirm Chuck Hagel to become the next secretary of defense. A vote is set for Friday.
The move was necessary, he said, because he could not come to an agreement with Republicans on handling Hagel’s nomination in any other way, leading minority members to opt to use their privilege to try to delay Hagel’s progress through the full chamber.
The rise of the Tea Party, which burst into national politics in 2009 and scored its first major electoral victories in 2010, set off a struggle within the Republican Party over just how far to the right the G.O.P. was willing to go. With that question settled — really, really far — we are now seeing the outlines of a struggle for control of the far right.Greg Sargent:
The lines of battle were visible on Tuesday night in the dueling responses to President Obama’s State of the Union address.
Having reached a similar conclusion about the GOP’s refusal to rethink its actual policy agenda, I’m still struggling with a question: Is it really possible that the smartest strategists in the Republican Party have decided that they don’t need to change a substantive thing aside perhaps from the party’s stance on immigration?