Anxiety and Hope – By the Numbers
By Rina Schneur *
When personality tests question whether I base my decisions on data and facts vs. emotions, my reply Is the former. So no wonder I transitioned recently from following the Covid-19 daily cases graphs by state and country to…yes, political polls. My go-to sites are: 270To Win for the presidential polls , 538 for the senate polls and the interactive map for electoral college . Add these together, mix well, and here is your recipe for increased anxiety.
While polls can be misleading in many ways, they are the best we have. The prominent reasons for polls to be wrong , in my opinion, are: First, “by definition” polls have margins of error that stem from the mere fact that they are based on extrapolating results derived from a sample polling. Typically this is +/3-5%. In addition, some people do not reveal their true intended vote, which further blurs any precise results..
To that mix add the ingredients of voter suppression, rejecting ballots, late ballots — especially in Corona time — and some foriegn interference. Top it all by the fact that 7-9% of polled individuals are marked “undecided,” whether they have not decided (really??) or just will not tell.
So the polls showing Biden up by 5% or even 7%, while better than the reverse, give me no comfort at all. As of the polls on 9/6, this reality is the case in all swing states. The average of published polls show Biden ahead by 7% in Wisconsin and Arizona; by 5% in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and even Minnesota, a blue state in 2016; and by <=2% in North Carolina, Florida, and Georgia.
Imagine what goes through my mind when I realize that even if we win all the states that Democrats won in 2016, plus the ones that polls now mark Biden ahead by 5% or more, including the historically red Arizona, but not including Pennsylvania, the number of the Democratic electoral votes is at 269. In that scenario, we will need to rely on the single electoral vote in Maine or, believe it or not, Nebraska! And there could be so many scenarios.
The bottom line is that we can take no risks, and each of us needs to give all we can in these final seven weeks to maximize the chance that this convoluted outcome will not happen. Moreover, we must make sure that the popular vote will not be close; many of us have seen the animated map of the projected election results on Nov 3rd when many mail-in ballots are not yet counted. It is a largely red map, even if the color changes when the final results are in. That scenario, for which He Whom I Will Not Name has already prepared for by promoting the constant narrative of rigged elections, is calling for trouble. So we need to make sure that we register more people to vote (the ones we want to vote), that they Get Out The Vote, and that they vote early.
So if you ask yourself – and ask me – “don’t I have enough to worry about; why do I need this gloomy outlook?”, do not despair. I am also here to reveal a glimmer of hope.
“Meet The Press”recently in its “By the Numbers” segment, showed that what we have been doing HAS BEEN WORKING. The registration levels in key states show that in Pennsylvania new registrations include 132,000 more Democrats than Republicans. We recall Hillary lost the Keystone State by only 44,000 votes. In Florida, close to 60,000 more Democrats are newly registered; in North Carolina, the numbers are up by 56,000; Arizona is not as great a change, but still the state has seen an additional 11,000 registered Democrats. See screen shots below.
Even more good news is that 35% of unaffiliated new registrations are young adults, who are expected to vote blue by a large majority. Plus, it may very well be that many of them are the moderate Republicans who are putting country over party and who will vote for Biden/Harris at least at the presidential level, if not on the Senatorial or Congressional level. .
Just watching the Lincoln Project and RVAT advertizements as well as listening to anchors such as Nicole Wallace and Anna Navarro, who used to work and support Republican presidents and presidential nominees, makes me feel that their followers will turn out and vote, not just stay silent.
So the opportunity for victory exists. There is certainly hope, and what we have been doing is working. But the numbers are not strong enough to give us comfort – even slightly. We must not let go and recruit all the help we can get to keep pushing non-stop until Nov. 3rd.
Let’s continue to work and inspire others to join us!
*Special thanks to Angela Carbone for editing.