Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Beaudrot's Rule

I completely agree with this tweet from Nick Beaudrot (quite appropriate shouting is his)::
The first rule of 2012 General election polling is DO NOT TALK ABOUT GENERAL ELECTION POLLING UNTIL THE GENERAL cc @daveweigel
Which was a response to Weigel's:
Obama leads potential GOP prez candidates by 5-10 points in Virginia. #demsindisarray #pagingdougschoen http://slate.me/d2resL
If you want to know about Barack Obama's chances in 2012, I recommend two things: pay attention to his approval ratings, and pay attention to the economic results and forecasts.  Really, you can completely, totally, absolutely ignore head-to-head polling matchups until Labor Day, 2012.  I know, we won't, but I'll strongly urge everyone to pay no attention to such polling until at least the GOP candidate is chosen.


  1. Ah, but what about comparative matchups?

    Naturally, we only have the results for polling after the primary, and in the presidential case, there's like 9 months between primary and election day.

    But, if Candidate A beats candidates B and C in matchups, but not D, doesn't that indicate something about D versus B & C? Not predictive of the general, but suggestive about individual candidates?

  2. I'm gonna say...you're not going to get much out of those. This early, you're going to get a lot of name recognition -- and you may get that well into the primary season.

    If I were trying to figure out which candidate matched up best against the other party, I would probably pay attention to favorable/unfavorable much more than to head-to-head matchups. Beyond polling, it's generally a safe bet that ideological extremism doesn't play well, and you could also look for signs of coalition-building skills rather than faction mobilization.

  3. I tend to agree but I still can't help but think this is good news for President Obama. You just suffered a massive mid-term defeat after a year of 9+ unemployment and you are still leading your nearest rivals in a purplish state that looked like it was trending away from you. I would not have expected that.


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