Political junkies, including more than a few in the news media, cannot seem to break their habits. Having been burned to a crisp by polls in 2016, they are right back at it.
We were surprised at the credence given to an Iowa poll last week that put Pete Buttigieg atop the Democratic presidential field. The Des Moines Register polled 500 citizens who say they will participate in this winter’s Iowa caucuses.
It was reported that Mayor Pete’s 25 percent of the total was a significant jump (16 points) from where he stood in the last such survey.
So, in real numbers, he had 125 people supporting him.
That is certainly movement, but in a pretty small world.
Still, the sampling was a lot larger than one issued by the Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College this week. This time, it was Mayor Pete again on top, comfortably ahead of the three old amigos, Bernie, Biden, and Warren.
The news media went gaga. And how big was this poll’s universe? Exactly 225 people. Yet it has a “margin of error” of just 6.1%, plus or minus. We wonder if they took a poll to come up with that margin.
Polls are easier to report than are issues of more substance. So are TV shows, mislabeled as “debates,” like the one the Democrats held in Atlanta this week. Both do a disservice to actual voting contests, such as New Hampshire’s presidential primary.
We think more than 225 people will turn out for the primary.