So, What Do These Polls of Presidential Candidates Mean in Real Life?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Peter Stevens https://www.flickr.com/photos/nordique/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Peter Stevens https://www.flickr.com/photos/nordique/

I haven’t written about the obsessive early polling of presidential candidates for one simple reason: I think it’s ridiculous.

Asking voters a year or more out from an election who they will vote for is like asking a 12-year-old girl to describe her future husband. What you will get in either case is a dream scenario that does not resemble what will actually happen when things get real.

I also think that debates this far out are, in a word, stupid. It’s showmanship, aimed at getting ratings. By the time the first vote is cast next spring, the voting public is already going to be sick of the spectacle.

However, I got a request to talk about the debates yesterday, and that led me to explain a bit of how these things work in real life in a post for CatholicVote. Here’s a bit of what I said:

Donald Trump is now neck and neck with Dr Ben Carson in polling data. Despite this, Mr Trump’s numbers have not fallen all that much.

How has this happened?

It’s simple, really. It’s also what usually happens in political races with lots of candidates. First, candidates drop out. That has been occurring in the Republican presidential marathon. As candidates drop out, voters who were backing them shift to other candidates. Over time, support begins to consolidate behind one candidate.

Donald Trump came out of the gate ahead of the pack. He led the field by a wide margin. But I noticed something interesting about his lead. The numbers held steady. What that meant is that he had a certain group of Republican voters behind him and they were solid in their support. But it looked as if that group was all he might get.

In short, he had a great starter set, but his ability to get over 50% seemed weak. I kind of expected that as candidates dropped out and the field began to consolidate, someone besides Mr Trump would pick up the gains. That is what has happened.

At the same time, Dr Carson’s success has fueled a drop in Mr Trump’s support. Dr Carson is not only managing to consolidate support that was previously going to candidate who have dropped out of the race, he is beginning to leach support away from Mr Trump.

Does that mean that Dr Carson is the likely nominee?

– See more at: http://www.catholicvote.org/so-how-exactly-does-the-polling-work/#sthash.3uJyB9KW.dpuf

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Polls Show Americans Believe in Jesus and the God of the Bible

The more I blog, the more I realize that the reactions of unbelievers are predictable, and if you think about them for a moment, understandable.

It appears that those who oppose traditional Christianity, or who want things, such as abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage, which traditional Christianity does not support, do not like to hear that anyone, anywhere, disagrees with them. One of their most common shibboleths is that Christians, particularly Catholics, do not believe what their Church teaches and do not adhere to those teachings.

This is repeatedly brought into discussions, usually with vague references to “polls” that indicate this “fact.” The implication of these comments is that if Catholics don’t even support their Church, then traditional Christian teachings are valueless and should be discarded.

But the polls that they reference do not stand up to close inspection. It turns out that the poll numbers in question refer to polls that equate “Catholics” who don’t attend church and have had no contact with the religion they claim, many times for most of their lives.

When Catholics who actually attend mass on at least a fairly regular basis are polled, it turns out that they do support their Church and believe in its teachings. One of the simplest ways to use polls for propaganda is to select a sample of people you poll who will give you the results you want. When pollsters talk about what Catholics believe, their results will be much more accurate if they poll people who are practicing Catholics.

Rasmussen has done a number of polls whose results will come as a surprise to anyone who believes what they read in the anti-Christian, Catholic bashing media. 

It turns out that people feel connected to their churches, that their loyalty to their church comes first after their families, and that a large majority of Americans believe in Jesus and the God of the Bible. 

If this is true, why do our government entities, from school boards to state legislatures and on up to the White House behave as if it wasn’t true? Why do we live in a world where government treats Christians as an ignorant and bigoted minority who must be ignored, and if that doesn’t work, oppressed and forced into silence?

Our country has taken an ugly turn from recent days when “You can go to church as much as you want, but leave it there.” was a hectoring comment that religious elected officials had shoved in their faces. Now, the law itself is beginning to enforce this.

It turns out that these moves toward legal discrimination against people of faith such as the HHS Mandate are being enacted in the face of a confused and propaganda-bound majority. It really is time that Christians stop allowing themselves to be flim and flammed this way.

Here is a summary of a few of the Rasmussen polls I am talking about:

When given a choice between several levels of community beyond their own family, most Americans choose either their church or their country. More than a third of adults (35%) say their strongest personal allegiance other than family is to their church. Nearly as many (31%) say their strongest allegiance is to their country, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of American Adults. Just six percent (6%) name the global community as their strongest personal connection, while five percent (5%) name some other community organization. Four percent (4%) each say their town or state represents their biggest personal allegiance. (To see survey question wording,click here.)

Two-out-of-three Americans (64%) believe in the God of the Bible. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey also finds that 12% do not believe in God at all. Eleven percent (11%) believe in some form or essence of God, five percent (5%) in some other form of God, and eight percent (8%) are not sure.  (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Eight-out-of-10 Americans (80%) say that their religious faith is at least somewhat important in their daily lives, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. (Click here.)

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 86% of American Adults believe the person known to history as Jesus Christ walked the Earth 2,000 years ago. Just seven percent (7%) don’t share this belief. (To see survey question wording, click here).

Holiday shoppers, as they have for several years, would prefer to be greeted with signs reading “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holidays” this season. (Click here.)

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of American Adults shows that 70% prefer that stores use signs that say “Merry Christmas.” (Click here.)

 

 

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What Is the ‘Fiscal Cliff’?

What is this “fiscal cliff” that commenters and pollsters talk about? What difference does it make to you and me?

The following excerpt from a Yahoo Finance article does a good job of answering these questions.

As usual, our elected officials are taking polls to learn what we the people think about their brinksmanship politics. They use the results of these polls to determine how far they can go in endangering the rest of us and keep their jobs. I don’t read much about them putting our country first, just how they can frame their irresponsibility so that the other guy takes the political fall for it.

BOTH parties are at fault here. NEITHER party appears to give a care about this country.

Pollsters are polling us. Politicians who don’t care about governing are using those polls to determine their next move in the one thing they do care about, which is making the opposite political party look bad.

I doubt that many people who are being polled know what the “fiscal cliff” is, or why it matters to them. I don’t want Public Catholic readers to be that uninformed.

The Yahoo Finance article says in part:

The fiscal cliff refers to the potentially disastrous situation the U-S faces at the end of this year. At midnight on December 31st, a number of laws are set to expire. If the President and the Republicans don’t reach an agreement before then, Americans could face broad government spending cuts and tax increases on January 1st. The combined amount would total over 500 billion dollars. Those 500 billion dollars equal about three to four percent of the nation’s entire gross domestic product. This is what’s referred to as the fiscal cliff.
If there isn’t a resolution, here are the specifics of what will happen.
Taxes would go up for almost every taxpayer and many businesses. The Bush-era tax cuts, which tax relief for middle and upper-class tax payers, would be a thing of the past. So would President Obama’s payroll tax cut which added about a thousand dollars a year to the average worker’s income.
Government spending would be slashed. That means less money for most military, domestic and federal programs. $26 billion in emergency unemployment-compensation would be gone. Medicare payments to doctors would be reduced by $11 billion. Federal programs would take the biggest hit. They stand to lose a total of $65 billion.
If the fiscal cliff isn’t avoided, some investors will be hit hard. Those who receive qualified dividends could see the tax rate on those dividends go from 15% to almost 40% in 2013.
Many business owners believe going over the fiscal cliff will cripple the economy, triggering a deep recession. (Read more here.)

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Forty Percent of Voters Say ‘None of the Above’

It turns out that Americans are smarter than either the Democrats or the Republicans give them credit for being.

According to a poll from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 40% of American voters look at Governor Romney and President Obama, and when asked which they prefer, say ‘no.’ To express that in political pollster speak, 40% of the voters polled say that they are “not too or not at all satisfied” with the choice of candidates in this presidential election. Yet a third way to put it is that 40% of the electorate is saying ‘none of the above.’

That’s a lot of voter dissatisfaction out there in the hustings. What it means is that even though 54% of those polled said that they were “very or fairly satisfied” with their choices, that huge 40% who don’t like either one of them assures that neither man can win the election with majority support from the whole electorate.

Whoever wins, he will walk out of the election with a majority of the people dissatisfied with him from day one. What that means is that the next President needs to do something that presidents don’t bother with anymore. He needs to work to gain the trust and support of the people he intends to govern.

Contrast these numbers with 2008 when 72% of the voters polled said they were happy with the choices they had. Numbers like that give the winner of an election a much easier time of governing.

So, what happened? Why so glum, Mr, Ms and Mrs Voter?

My guess is that President Obama has attacked the basic values of such a large part of the electorate that he’s turned off a considerable number of people who voted for him in 2008. Meanwhile, Governor Romney dissed almost half the people of this country with his infamous 47% speech.

That’s not all of it, of course. President Obama has dismal job numbers, an unending war and the mess in the Middle East going against him. Meanwhile Governor Romney continues to project, not so much bad personality, as no personality.

Also, the country suffers from the inevitable ennui of unending campaigns. The Republicans began campaigning against President Obama before he even took the oath of office after his election in 2008. I’ve heard talk about who will be running in 2016 already, and we haven’t voted in this election. Yammering at the people of this country about 2016 right now is a little bit like asking a woman in labor when she’s going to have her next baby.

The people doing this appear to be so focused on winning that they don’t have any sense. Anyone who is talking about the 2016 campaign at this time has become so obsessed with winning elections that they’re starting to look mental.

All this would be amusing if it was a horse race instead of presidential campaign. If we could just cool Romney and Obama down and then take them off to their stalls to rest up after the race was over, it would just be good fun. However, that is not true. First we have the election. Then, whoever wins has to govern this country. As I said in an entirely different context in an earlier post, the scary part of a political campaign comes after the election.

 

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