Don’t worry about the polls — yet

Infidel753, Don’t worry about the polls — yet, Infidel753 Blog

I’ve previously discussed (scroll down a bit) why disagreeable poll results about next year’s election are not grounds for despair about the likely outcome.  In brief, while polling averages are usually a good indicator of what the public is thinking at a given moment, they don’t have much predictive value this far in advance of the election.

As I mentioned in that post, given the presidential candidates’ ages, either or both could suffer a clearly disqualifying medical event, or even die (far less likely in Biden’s case), before next November.  It’s even possible that a candidate other than Trump could become the Republican nominee — that looks highly unlikely right now, but “inevitable” candidates have flamed out before.  Such events could drastically alter the dynamic of the race.

Aside from that, a year is plenty of time for one or more game-changing events to happen, especially with the economy and the world situation so volatile.  For one thing, the Gaza war, which is now dividing the left, will almost certainly be over long before November 2024.  If Ukraine defeats Russia, especially if the Putin regime collapses, then Biden will have crippled our country’s most dangerous enemy at the cost of a small fraction of the defense budget and not a single American military casualty — something that anyone can understand easily, even people baffled by the intricacies of Bidenomics.  If Russia defeats Ukraine, the US and the West will be humiliated and we’ll face an emboldened expansionist mafia-state on the border of NATO.  If China attacks Taiwan, the US will not be able to avoid actually going to war.  How well or badly Biden handles this would probably sweep away all other factors influencing the election result.  Then there’s the possibility of something completely unexpected, as the covid pandemic was.

More broadly, as difficult as this may be for our politically-engaged activists to believe, most people are not very interested in politics or what the government is doing, until an election is just a month or two away.  For example, only 17% — one-sixth — of the public was paying attention to the struggle to elect a new speaker of the House after McCarthy fell.  As another example, the White House Twitter account has fewer than nine million followers, not a lot in a country of a third of a billion people.  For comparison, Taylor Swift has ninety-five million Twitter followers and two hundred and seventy million Instagram followers, which tells you something about the general level of public interest in politics vs pop culture.

This is a big part of why the very substantial achievements of the Biden administration don’t seem to be moving the polling needle much.  The details of what exactly Build Back Better and the IRA did are complex and very boring.  It will take intensive, focused messaging to convey their benefits to most of the public, and even that would be a waste of time until the election is a lot closer and voters start thinking seriously about their upcoming choices.  As for Trump’s legal baggage, which seems so obviously disqualifying, I can’t be the only one who has been sick to death of hearing about him since at least 2020.  The glacially-slow saga of his various charges, gag orders, quarrels with judges, etc makes drying paint look like epic drama by comparison.  If he actually goes to prison, which is quite possible, that will get more attention.  But until then, or until the election is near, I doubt that the broad mass of people are following the story at all closely.

Finally, the MSM have been at best negligent about accurate reporting, and at worst actively hostile.  This is partly due to a foolish belief that even-handedness consists of showing equal favor or disfavor to both sides regardless of real differences (see here, paragraph starting with “Election news, too”).  There’s also a twisted sense of self-interest.  Whatever journalists’ personal political leanings, shock and outrage and fear are good for their business — and nobody generates those things better than Trump would do if he were back in the presidency.

When we get close to the election, Biden and his proxies will doubtless start churning out ads and other messages, highlighting both Trump’s abundant negatives and the specific ways Biden’s legislation has helped people, in bite-size chunks and easily-understandable language.  The Republican threat to abortion rights, which has proven decisive again and again since Dobbs, will also figure prominently in contests up and down the ballot.  But doing all that now would be a waste of money and would probably just annoy most people,  and whatever messaging successes it achieved would be forgotten or superseded by events by the time the election arrived.  Biden has long experience at politics.  He understands the importance of timing.

If, then, the polling averages still show Biden trailing Trump, that will be the time to worry.  Then the Democrats will face the stark choice inherent in the situation:  listen humbly and respectfully to the voters’ objections, change course accordingly, and win — or start lecturing and berating the voters and lose.  A major liability will be the progressive activist contingent which instinctively inclines toward the latter course.

But I really doubt that will happen.  The Democrats genuinely do have the better of the argument.  The post-pandemic economic recovery has been truly phenomenal, with the US economy now growing faster than China’s for the first time in forty years and unemployment below 4% for almost two years.  Abortion rights have scored strong wins even in deep-red states, and support is now at a near-record high.  Contrary to a favorite Republican talking point, the number of illegal aliens in the US has been  decreasing.  All Trump objectively offers is an obsession with personal vendettas, a lust for authoritarian power, and more “owning the libs”, all of which holds little appeal to anyone but his personal cultists.

Democrats will need to go all-out to make their case when the time comes.  The risk of Trump being elected again is not zero.  But I don’t think it’s very large.