Washington Post Vs Washington Post

In the Washington Post Abby Phillips wrotes “Clinton isn’t doing better than previous Democrats with Latinos — even against Trump”

While Greg Sargent wrote “If this new poll is right, Trump is absolutely shredding the GOP brand with Latinos”

Both are horse race journalism, but Sargent is looking at the horses and Phillips is talking to the usual bed wetters (who are also people demanding more from the campaign).

The difference is clear in the title, Sargent refers to the evidence he considers while Phillips (or an editor) merely assert.

Sargent has a strong case

A new poll of over 3,000 Latino voters just released today will not do much to assuage these fears.

The poll, which was commissioned by America’s Voice and conducted by Latino Decisions, finds Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump by 70-19 among Latinos. That’s worse than Mitt Romney’s 27 percent in 2012.

“isn’t doing any better” sure looks like 19=27 to me. For quantitative data, Phillips reports on statewide polls in Flordia and Nevada

“In Nevada and Florida, the two battleground states with the highest Latino populations, the Democratic nominee remains locked in a close race with Trump.” This is very crude. Then adds “Clinton is polling about the same as Democrats in previous contests among Latinos nationally, apparently gaining no ground from Trump’s historic unpopularity.” but presents no numbers at all. Note also the contradiction “about the same” implies “gaining no ground”. Now to the innumerate 19 is about like 27, that is Clinton’s failure to gain ground is largely based on the absence of ground to gain.

What happened here ? I think this shows how political journalists are not even capable of calling the horse race (Nate Silver has been showing that for years). Finding people who call themselves experts is not the best way to measure public opinion. Polls have tons of problems and are the worst way of assessing public opinion imaginable except for all the other ways.

I think this also shows how facts are not allowed to get in the way of a narrative. I’m sure Phillips had traveled and interviewed and was working on the story when the America’s Voice poll was published. The numbers reported in that poll were inconvenient and weren’t allowed to mess up the story and ruin the work put into explaining why Trump was doing about as well as Romney with latino Americns.

Also this shows again the superiority of blogs to traditional reporting. Sargent works for the Washington Post but his background is in blogging.