When I arrived in Des Moines, Iowa just before the 1996 Republican caucuses, New York publisher Steve Forbes was first in the polls. Nine days later, he finished fourth.
A lot of lessons can be drawn from that campaign, and every other. How to use and interpret polling data and political reporting are two of them.
As a former candidate, state party chairman and member of the Republican National Committee, I’ve spent plenty of time with pollsters, looking at data, and seeing political stories both in the media and behind the scenes. Unfortunately, some of what we see in the political press and social media concerning polling in the 2016 race for the Republican presidential nomination ranges from misleading to useless.
Here’s a guide to making some sense of the polling and reporting.Political reporting is written by political people, who tend to overestimate how well the candidates are known. Who’s following the 2016 contest closely? Not normal people. Most people are more focused on living their daily lives than following the machinations of a race where not a single ballot will be cast for six more … Read More