Before you tell Biden to drop out, check out this poll on Trump vs. Democratic alternatives

Originally published at:


All polls are garbage. Who was asked, how it was asked all matter, and samplings are so small they mean almost nothing as far as I am concerned.


Wasn’t going to in the first place.

Also, I’m pretty sure that the Dems have access to this or similar polls for quite a while now, which is why Biden is running again.


Admittedly tedious, but still in want of stating (well twice so, hat-tip to @SpongeBorg ), but you can’t recover a representative ‘usual’ from an unusual sample; and these days someone who answers a national opinion poll is a member of a (highly) unusual subset. It’s sampling error from tip to tail.

Here’s one more feckless in passing: margin of error is calculated from a proper random sample of the populace via 1/sqrt(N) where N is the sample size. So you’ll often see in tiny tiny letters (as though they’re admitting their shame?) “MOE: 3.1%”. This means they phoned up a huge amount of folks before they stopped after ~1000 very special people took their poll. This is not remotely a proper random sample, so that MOE calculation cannot be used, yet use it they do. That is, the margin of error isn’t 3.1% it’s far larger. So if you read “trump leads Biden by 10%!!!” please try to read that as “We have no idea who is actually leading among those who will actually vote.”

That being blathered, let’s please get out the vote!! and vote in the general for the only practicable opponent to trump, Biden.


Isn’t name recognition everything in these polls, though? (Excepting the cases where there’s been decades of mudslinging against someone.) I expect that a depressingly large fraction of those surveyed wonder “Gretchen who?” in a way that they wouldn’t, if she’d been the presumptive front-runner for the last many months.

I guess that’s not the real scenario, though, because if Biden weren’t running there’d be a big contest going on on the Dem side (Harris, Whitmer, Newsom + another dozen).


Of course, it’s not about the national popular vote. It’s about the outcome of eight or so swing states.


To all the excellent points already made about the problems in modern polling, I’d add:

  • Poll fatigue: People are already surveyed to death by corporate America’s insistence on NPS and similar nonsense.
  • It’s early, there’s a long way to go before November.
  • Poll popularity doesn’t decide elections. Even without the asinine EC, the GOP is doing everything it can to prevent voting.
  • Horse race: Why does anyone at all still cover politics this way?

I can answer that one.


Presidential polls should just ask people in the the top eight or nine swing states with the result saying, "If November’s vote matches this poll ________ would win the elections. Because…


(sorry for screaming, everyone)

But seriously, Why do they even bother asking people in Texas and California?


In 2004 over 61% of Texas voters supported the Republican candidate and 38% supported the Democratic candidate.

By 2020 those numbers had shifted to just over 52% for the Republican candidate and 46.5% for the Democratic candidate.

Writing off Texas as a place that is too solidly Republican for Democrats to even make a play for would be a really dumb and defeatist idea. If Texas finds its own Stacy Abrams-style vote organizing effort we could quite plausibly see the state flipping blue in the very near future.


:: soon meme ::


The neat thing about the electoral college is that states never change, until all of a sudden they do. You know, for certain values of “neat”.


Yes and.

This whole article is a disturbing recitation of very real examples about what we who support voting rights for all Americans are up against, not to mention making sure we have a free and fair 2024 general election (Electoral College be damned):

A panel of federal judges also will hold trial sometime this year (no date has been set as of writing) on claims that Texas’s congressional map discriminates against Asian, Black, and Latino voters in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and South Texas regions. (The Texas case includes claims under the Voting Rights Act as well as the 14th Amendment and could be impacted by the Alabama decision.)


The silver lining of those articles is that the Republicans themselves clearly believe their party’s hold on the state is under threat or they wouldn’t be trying so hard to suppress free and fair elections.

Let’s make sure that fear is justified.


This is all they have left.
They have no new ideas.
They have no workable solutions.
And they have no intention of bettering the lives of most of us Texans.

They just want to hold on to power and keep their snouts in the various grifty money troughs, selling influence, and selling us out. That’s it. And even that ain’t original or clever.

Ye gods I miss Molly Ivins. Everything she ever said gets truer every day.

coffee-free day has resulted in missing words while typing; guess I know what I am doing tomorrow…


Astonishing? Is it really, though?


Biden’s running again because he’s the incumbent president. Why would he not run for a second term, since he’s actually physically and mentally fit enough, and has been getting a lot of things done?


Among people who answered the phone and could be bothered to answer…


All of this discussion is, of course, academic. The chances that Biden is going to step aside because of what Ezra Klein says are 0.0%.

Biden is the candidate, and the choice between the 81-year-old mixed bag candidate and the 77-year-old real-life fascist is no choice at all. At this point, I’d vote for a poisonous sea cucumber if it was the top candidate facing Trump.


This is the paid-attention-in-stat-101 answer, sure, but it isn’t as if the field of statistics just gave up. There are techniques: