Commentary

The Answer? The Undecideds!

Political polling is still an art, not a science.

This was evident during an intriguing webinar from ESOMAR featuring some of the best pollsters currently examining the U.S. in the weird and wacky world of Trump and his regime, where we can always expect the unexpected.

The potential clues to watch for in determining the result in November -- sometime! -- appeared to be clear, along with some fascinating dimensions for likely voters or registered Democratic or Republican voters.

Without detailing the various pluses and minuses of the technical research executions -- which can significantly affect any polling results -- kudos to the contributors: Jean-Marc Leger, president of Leger; Frank Graves, president EKOS Research Associates; Cliff Young, President, Ipsos Public Affairs, USA; and Chintan Turakhia, EVP, SRSS with Jennifer Agiesta, director of polling, CNN. 

Turakhia and Agiesta emphasized the importance of over-representing the Battleground States in any National poll due to their influence on the final results, which are based on the Electoral College decision structure in the United States.

This research foundation has, in my opinion, paid dividends for the value of the SSRS results and how much CNN viewers can lean on them versus some other polls reported in the media.

To no surprise, they found that Democrats are significantly more likely to vote by mail in this election versus Republicans (and versus earlier elections!)

This simple fact surely underscores the rationale for the regime's efforts to kibosh the Postal Service, which will also help to reduce voter turnout.

Leger stressed the level of turnout as a key results driver, noting that Battleground States do have much higher turnouts than others. His findings on the effect of turnout over the years and by ethnicity and age echoed that of SSRS.

So we have another clue to “The Answer.”

The turnout dynamic provides a clear basis for the “suppress the vote” tactics of the regime versus the “get out the vote” of the Democrats.

And we all thought it was all about policies, experience, and demeanor!

Although it is very tricky to determine the actual percentage of the population, Leger -- I believe correctly -- posited that based on the brutal polarization of the current electorate, “it's the people who stay at home (and did not vote by mail!) and the “undecideds” that “will ultimately decide the final result.”

So we have another dimension of “The Answer” to watch closely.

I do recall that in 2016, the largest number of people in that U.S. election were the people who did not vote, reflecting its relatively low turnout compared to other election years. Probably concentrated with undecideds?

As confirmed by Graves, EKOS in researching underlying implications and motivations of voters, “there is a paradox. A horrible outlook on a host of issues but a seemingly close race.” His interpretation of his research findings was that the significant increase in polarization was primarily driven by “authoritarian populism.”

I would suggest sad, but how true.

Young presented some important potential, predictive results that differ from the polling numbers.

Due to mixed signals from their field work, Ipsos believes that various prior results and trends notably for sitting Presidents are a factor.

However, I am not sure I would agree with the emphasis of this element of their predictive model -- especially in a time when the unpredictable-unpredictable appears to be the norm.

Not surprisingly, Young offered research that paralleled the other companies with regard to the complete polarization of the U.S. electorate on every main issue, with a warning: “Don’t count Trump out!”

Echoes of 2016?

This rich, research-based U.S. polling webinar provided some very real clues to “The Answer?” Watch the turnout in key voting segments in the Battleground States -- and especially the undecideds.

The debate on September 29th could provide an inflection point. The “James Comey” unpredictable element can change everything.

The final result is dependent on a relatively very, very small percentage of the population.

Expect the unexpected!

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