The presidential primary season is finally winding down, after 42 years of campaigning, 904 primaries, 611 debates and 1,723 polls, all of which were wrong, and some of which had predicted that Scrooge McDuck was a sure thing to take the nomination.

As we know now, McDuck’s candidacy didn’t fly. It barely took the train, and he dropped out of the race to join the law firm of Huey, Dewey, Louie & Schwartz, LLC. His departure so rattled the pollsters that they proceeded to get even more predictions wrong, frequently noting that Monday was ahead of Friday by 2.5 percentage points in the race for best day of the week. (Admittedly, that was well within the margin of error, if you’re not counting Saturday.)

They were not much better than the political pundits, who not that long ago were predicting that the most important issue in this presidential election would be how to pronounce broccoli rabe.

In order to do this better when the next presidential primary season begins in early December, let’s examine how and why everyone has been so mistaken.

  • When polled, people generally were too busy to answer questions honestly because they were taking pictures of food and posting them to Yelp along with their critiques of inattentive service.
  • The algorithms didn’t work. This was not surprising because with the exception of 11 people in northern California, 10 of whom work for Google, nobody knows what an algorithm is.
  • Many people who were polled didn’t want to answer truthfully because they were ashamed that others would find out they had supported McDuck and his plan to rein in the Federal Reserve and replace it with boxes of Good & Plenty.
  • Many people believe that there is no such word as “pundit” and it is actually the capital of Moldova. Forty-seven percent of those responding believe it’s actually the capital of Macedonia. Seven percent are not sure or are binge-watching Game of Thrones.
  • The pundits have spent too much time watching the polls and the pols have spent too much time eating broccoli rabe.
  • The polls have been using unrepresentative samples of voters. According to the most recent census, eight out of every ten registered voters are either white, black, Hispanic or Asian or something else. Pollsters have not been able to contact anyone who is registered as something else.
  • It has become increasingly difficult to locate people to poll because you need a land line to do that and no one has a land line anymore. So frequently it’s the same person, the only one remaining with a land line, who is being polled again and again. It turns out that this person is my Uncle Joel, living in Florida, and he prefers angry letters to the editor.
  • Polls increasingly have relied on robo calls to reach voters. Yet not a single robo has voted in recent presidential elections.
Advertisements