The trouble with the polls - Poynter

The trouble with the polls - Poynter

What do the polls say?

That’s what many election followers are wondering as we are now less than a week away from Election Day in the 2022 midterms. Will the Democrats hold the House? Can Republicans gain control of the Senate?

When it comes to individual races, who will be elected governor of Arizona? And governor of Pennsylvania? And Georgia? Will Herschel Walker be elected to the U.S. Senate in Georgia? And who wins between John Fetterman and Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania?

In times like these, we turn to the polls. Every day. Several times a day.

But should we?

In a column for The Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin writes,“4 reasons to be skeptical about election polling.”

As Rubin points out, pollsters still have a difficult time, it seems, accurately tracking MAGA supporters, who might not be willing to share how they will vote — or at least not as willing as those who will vote Democrat.

Writing for The Hill,opinion contributor Sheldon H. Jacobson writes, “For polls to be useful, they must capture a representative sample of those who will cast votes in the election. For example, if a pollster oversamples Republican-leaning voters in a Democrat-leaning district, the resulting poll may not provide useful forecasting information.”

Jacobson also notes that there’s a big difference between “registered voters” and “likely voters.” He adds, “Even when people indicate that they are likely to vote, what they actually do may be different. This means that polling data may contain information about people who never cast a ballot.”

The other big fly in the ointment? Rubin writes, “Republican pollsters are flooding the zone with partisan polls, which polling averages pick up. Naturally, that means mainstream media outlets are seeing these numbers and concluding that Republicans are gaining steam. But are they?”

As Rubin notes, we obviously don’t know how much to trust polling because we really don’t know what the voter turnout will be. She writes, “CBS News has wisely provided a range of polling results depending on different turnout models. That seems far more honest and informative.”

Ultimately, Rubin is correct when she writes, “In the end, the only sane approach to understanding the election is to ignore all the polling noise and focus on what really matters: turning out to vote.”

Liz Cheney, the Republican Congresswoman from Wyoming, had a surprising endorsement when it came to the open Senate seat in Ohio. Actually, maybe it isn’t all that surprising after all.

Cheney told “PBS NewsHour” anchor Judy Woodruff, “I would not vote for JD Vance.”

Woodruff asked, “So if you were a Buckeye State voter, you’d be voting for Tim Ryan?”

Just last week, Cheney threw her support behind Democrat Rep. Elissa Slotkin, who is running for re-election in Michigan.

Cheney said, “We’re at a moment now where my party has really lost its way. It’s dangerous because we’ve become beholden to a man who was willing to attempt to stop the peaceful transfer of power. We can’t give power to people who have told us they won’t respect the outcome of elections.”

Check out this headline:“I’m John Fetterman: This is why I want Pennsylvania’s vote in the midterm election.”

Now check this out: Know where that headline and opinion piece ran? On Fox News’ website.

That’s a bit of a surprise considering Fetterman is the Democratic nominee for senate in Pennsylvania, running against Republican Mehmet Oz.

Fetterman lays out his case for why he’s a better candidate than Oz, but that’s not the point of this item in this newsletter. The point is to, again, note that the conservative Fox News gave Fetterman a platform to make his final argument.

“CNN This Morning” — the network’s revamped morning show with co-hosts Don Lemon, Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins — debuted Tuesday morning.

How was it? Well, for starters, let’s agree that it is completely unfair to make a determination of a new show after one newscast. Having said that, the show showed promise. Lemon, Harlow and Collins had decent chemistry that, you assume, will grow even better over time.

Deadline’s Ted Johnson wrote, “On a comforting, blond wood set and behind an acrylic desk, with the requisite branded coffee cups at the ready, the three hosts chatted for a bit about Halloween but appeared mindful of striking the right balance of small talk and seriousness, as they led with a report about Iranian plans to ship ballistic missiles to Russia as it wages its war in Ukraine.”

Much has been made about Lemon moving from primetime to mornings, and Harlow is a solid pro. But what about Collins?

The Washington Post’s Jeremy Barr wrote about Collins in“The meteoric rise of CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.”

Barr writes, “How fast was Collins’s rise? Just eight years ago, she was blogging about Miley Cyrus’s latest tattoos and Shia LaBeouf’s trip to rehab — the quintessential starter job of the digital media era. But thanks to an easy screen presence and hard-earned reporting chops, she has now catapulted to a co-anchor seat on the just-launched ‘CNN This Morning’ — an attempt by new network leader Chris Licht to reinvent a block of programming that has long trailed its cable-news rivals in the ratings.”

Barr details how Collins has gone from working for the Daily Caller, the right-wing site co-founded by Tucker Carlson, to become CNN’s youngest chief White House correspondent when she was 28. Licht told Barr that Collins, now 30, was “the absolute complete package,” and praised her reporting and on-screen delivery of the news.

Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton condemned last week’s attack on Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. However, Cotton stopped short of tying heated political rhetoric to violent crime.

Cotton appeared on “CBS Mornings”to, in part, promote his new book, “Only the Strong.” He told “CBS Mornings” co-host Tony Dokoupil that the attack on Pelosi was a “terrible crime,” while wishing Pelosi “the very best and a full recovery.” He added that “we should throw the book” at the man who attacked Pelosi.

But when asked by Dokoupil about the rising temperatures in the political talk leading to violence, Cotton would not go there. He only offered, “The simplest way to stop crime like this is to get tough on crime. It’s not to try to stop campaigning in the middle of a campaign, seven days before an election, on legitimate issues of public concern.”

A federal judge has blocked the merger of two of the world’s biggest book publishing companies. Judge Florence Pan stopped the $2.18 billion merger between Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster, writing, “The Court finds that the United States has shown that the effect of the proposed merger may be substantially to lessen competition in the market for the U.S. publishing rights to anticipated top-selling books.”

Penguin Random House has said it will appeal.

The Associated Press’ Hillel Italie wrote, “Pan’s finding was not surprising — through much of the 3-week trial in August she had indicated agreement with the Justice Department’s contention that Penguin Random House’s plan to buy Simon & Schuster, for $2.2 billion, might damage a vital cultural industry. But it was still a dramatic departure from recent history in the book world and beyond. The publishing industry has been consolidating for years with little interference from the government, even when Random House and Penguin merged in 2013 and formed what was then the biggest publishing house in memory. The joining of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster would have created a company far exceeding any rival and those opposing the merger included one of Simon & Schuster’s signature writers, Stephen King, who testified last summer on behalf of the government.”

By the way,King tweeted, “I am delighted that Judge Florence Pan has blocked the merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster. The proposed merger was never about readers and writers; it was about preserving (and growing) PRH’s market share. In other words: $$$.”

Julie Powell, the writer who spent a year cooking every recipe in a Julia Child cookbook, which ultimately led to the movie “Julie & Julia,” has died. She was 49. Her husband said she died of cardiac arrest.

In 2002, working in an unfulfilling office job as she was about to turn 30, Powell set out to make every one of the 524 recipes in Child’s 1961 classic “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Powell turned her efforts into a blog and then a book called “Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen.” That ultimately led to a 2009 movie starring Amy Adams as Powell and Meryl Streep as Child.

Powell went on to write another book in 2009 titled “Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession.” It was a much darker and deeply personal story, including details about extramarital affairs by both her and her husband. That would be her last book.

Judy Clain — editor in chief of the publisher Little, Brown and Company and Powell’s editor —told The New York Times’ Kim Severson and Julia Moskin, “She had so much talent and emotional intelligence. I only wish she could have found the next thing.”

Severson and Moskin wrote, “Ms. Powell, who was politically candid and a staunch advocate for animals, maintained her lively voice on social media, a natural extension for the quirky and direct voice she honed as an early blogger. On Twitter, she posted pointed commentary, mixed in with mundane bits of daily life. As ever, she made her feelings public, whether she was depressed, frustrated or excited.”

Excellent work from The Los Angeles Times with“LA Vanguardia: An L.A. Times project celebrating the Latino vanguard transforming our cultural landscape.”

As part of that L.A. Times’ project, actor and producerJohn Leguizamo writes an open letter to Hollywood. In it, Leguizamo writes, “You can be as talented as Marlon Brando or Ingrid Bergman, you can write like William Shakespeare or Arthur Miller, you can have the screen presence of Ryan Gosling or Jennifer Lawrence. But if you look Latino, or if you have a Latino last name, the odds are against you in Hollywood.” It’s a powerful piece that deserves to be read in its entirety.

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