Plain English with Derek Thompson - Midterm Election FAQ: Can We Trust the Polls? Are Democrats Doomed?

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Once more on 60 songs that explain the 90s every Wednesday on if I, Today’s episode is about the midterm elections.

We’re coming down to the wire and Democrats hopes of holding on to the Senate and the house are fading fast two months ago, the story was the Democrats seemed poised to pull off an upset and hold on to the Senate.


Despite the fact that the party in power, just about always loses in the midterm election according to 538 Democrats had an 80% chance of winning the senate in August.

Today, the Senate looks like a toss-up Georgia, Pennsylvania.


Nevada, might all come down to the wire and it’s not just Democrats.

Who are facing challenges this year, it’s pollsters themselves.

Error margins are rising fewer.

People are responding to survey calls many of the errors of the 2016 election were.


Despite many promises stunningly repeated in the 2020 election and that means that a lot of us are just flying half blind out there the political campaigns.

The commentators the voters, we can’t be sure that the polling averages that we see in the news on our phones are accurately reflecting reality.


So today, I want to talk about both of these phenomena why pollsters are freaking out about the quality of poles and why Democrats are freaking out about the direction of polling.

My guest is Kristen soltis Anderson, Kristen is a Republican pollster and the co-founder of echelon insights Chris.


And I talked about the closest races Georgia, Pennsylvania.

We talked about whether Donald Trump is an overall help or hindrance to the GOP right now and we discuss.

Why the Golden Age of polling is over.

I’m Derrick Thompson.


This is plain English.


Kristen, welcome back to the podcast.

I’m so glad to be here.

Thanks for having me.

I do want to talk to you about the midterms and the Republican surge in just a minute.

But first, I really want to talk to you about the quality of polling in 2016.

Obviously polling was famously off in 2020 pollsters Fix the problem and pulls her off again.


It was a New York Times article that came out today that interviewed a bunch of posters and some of the quotes got me a little bit freaked out and seltzer.

Who is a prominent Iowa pollster said this to the New York Times, quote, there isn’t a pollster who is telling the truth, who doesn’t worry all the time?


Do I feel like there is a Doomsday Clock ticking?

Yeah, I kind of do and quote, Kristen, what is she talking about and how worried are you?

You about the quality of polling right now.

I’m very worried and I say this as someone who has been working in this field for a decade and a half and someone who takes pride in her work and feels confident in the the stuff that I’m doing at my firm.


But I would have to say that I think and Seltzer’s take on this as a Doomsday Clock.

Maybe I wouldn’t use exactly the same metaphor the way I would describe it.

Is there has been a it’s sort of like, confronting a pandemic and You know, that there’s a problem and you’re trying to figure out how to treat it, and you’ve got to develop experimental medications to treat it.


And right now, the polling world is in the we are developing an experimental cure.

We’re not sure if it’s going to work and we don’t totally know what the side effects are type mode.

And so, whenever people are asking me about whether they can trust the polls, I say, look in some ways, it’s a miracle of the poles are as good as they have.


Been considering how few people take polls, how fast the Ecology is changing and so on and so forth.

But this is a year where unlike previous years where the polls have been wrong and pollsters went, ah, ha.

That’s what was wrong and here’s how you fix it.

There’s still a big question, mark lingering out there after 2020.


And so everybody is kind of throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks to see, who solves the problem for 2022.

And then even if you solve it for 2022, there’s no guarantee that that means you’ve got the right answer for 2024 and Beyond So if we want a sophisticated understanding of the shape of this problem, what is what’s going on?


Why has polling seemed to become so much less trustworthy over the last few Cycles?

Well, in some ways I think it’s a combination of the poles themselves becoming a little less trustworthy and the way that we use polling becoming a little less effective.


So on the one hand there’s some great This is done by the big Association of pollsters.

It’s called a poor.

They put out a big report after the 2016 election that looked historically at how accurate polls have been.

And they found that actually for most of the 20th century, pulling wasn’t great.


It tended to be off on average by a couple of points.

Here, are there in most elections, you had a couple that were pretty good 1984, 1988 the polls in 2000, said it was gonna be pretty close election and it was Nowadays though when polls are off by two or three points that really causes a lot of alarm because suddenly, if a race was supposed to be closed and then somebody wins by two or three points, people say, oh well the poll said that was going to be close.


And look though, it wasn’t that close we now have so much use of polling in punditry and that use of pulling in punditry means that even little shifts.

Wind up, getting blown out of proportion in the coverage.

There’s so much more attention paid to it.


So many more people Wing it that you could have put out a poll that was kind of wrong back in 1982.

And it wouldn’t have dominated the news cycle and what have you and changed the way reporters were covering the race.

I think, in the way that it does, now it’s amazing.


You look, you sent me this report just before we press the record button, I’m really interested in knowing like what’s the Golden Age of polling when was it?

That poles were supposedly just so wonderful and you go back to the 1930s. 1840s where National polling really starts to take off.


Pulling was awful, the 1936 election was off by 12 points.

The 1948 election was off by almost 10 points.

I mean polling in the middle of the 20th century was a disaster.

It looks like by the time you get to the late 1980s mid-1990s that’s what we might call the Golden Age of polling.


So I feel like what a way to help us understand what went wrong is to juxtapose.

Now versus the 1990s when the average Error in vote margin was really, really small.

What are the most important differences?

One of the big differences is that back in that Golden Age?


Everyone was reachable in the same sort of fashion.

Now, of course, not everyone had a landline phone, you’ve always had some form of bias, but generally people had landline phones, in their home, which for a variety of regulatory reasons are not too hard to call.


You could call people during dinner time at home, you got about Three to four out of ten people.

You called would pick up the phone and take your survey.

And so, it was this uniformity of how you could reach people paired with this willingness to talk to pollsters that we don’t have.


Now nowadays, the percentage of people that have land lines in their phone, their home is extremely small.

People now tend to have cell phones, but I don’t know about you.

I’m upholstered I don’t pick up numbers that, I don’t know that called my cell phone.

So caller, ID, the rise of cell phones, there are regulatory reasons, why.


It’s very hard for pollsters to call cell phones or it’s very expensive to do so.

So people are less likely to pick up and you aren’t able to contact everyone in the same method.

So if your pole just calls people on the phone, you’re missing people that don’t have a reliable phone or don’t have a landline certainly, but then if you do a poll, that’s just online, you’re also systematically missing.


Anyone who maybe doesn’t have Broadband, maybe they’re not really comfortable using the internet that much.

You know, you wind up with different biases.

Has four different methods and that’s just not the world that you had.

When pretty much everyone was reachable by a landline phone, back in the 80s and 90s.


The direction of error doesn’t seem particularly random anymore.

It seems like Republicans are consistently under pulled or underrepresented in polls.

Why is that these days?

The reason why Republicans tend to be underrepresented in polls is because Republicans have improved their standing with voters who don’t have College degrees while Democrats have improved with voters who do.


And so you’ve got education level as this big divider in a way that it wasn’t even 10 years ago or.

So if I had done a pole 10 or 20 years ago, and I had asked you, whether you had a college degree or not, that would give me very little information about which party you would vote for.


Because, you know, you’ve always had Democrats doing well with what Republicans would call, you know, sort of champagne liberals.

But then again, you also had the sort of rich countries.

Country Club, you know, businessman type, Republican and so Republicans.

And Democrats each had their sort of upper income and lower income, upper education, and lower education.


Type supporters that has totally changed Democrats, have Consolidated college educated voters.

They’re more likely to take polls for more likely to have internet access.

They’re more likely to be reachable, where folks with lower education levels less so.

And so, because that now suddenly lines up with partisanship, that’s part of why.


You’ve seen Republicans less likely to be In polls.

But that doesn’t tell the whole story that only can be, that only tells a piece of it because pollsters actually after 2016 figured that out and began adjusting for it, making sure you had the right balance of college educated and non-college educated voters.


The other problems.

Republicans now do much better with voters who you would call low social, trust voters.

They’re the types of people who, you know, if you ask them, if someone drops their wallet, How likely is it that you think they’ll get it back for someone just like stealing the wallet?

Like If you just sort of have a low opinion about other people in humanity, you just don’t think that sissies, you think like societies out to get you etcetera, you’re less likely to tell a stranger on the phone, what you believe about politics.


And to the extent that Republicans particularly during the Trump era, began to consolidate people, with that kind of disposition that has also made it harder to survey Republicans.

So when I think about this and I am not a pulling expert and you are but what’s it seems to me, like okay, if the biggest problem with building, Panel of 1,000, 2,000 people that are demographically Representatives, because the Republicans and specifically, the low social trust, Trump voters are much less likely to respond, whether it’s a cell phone poll landline, poll online, poll, okay?


Why not just build a panel, why not?

Just try, really, really hard to build a panel of 1,000, 2,000?

People that are demographically, representative, and you just ask this group of people the same questions over and over.

And over again and track their changes of opinion.


And then hope that those two thousand people’s changes of opinion is representative of the entire country.

I know that some pollsters are doing panels like this.

But what’s the biggest argument against everyone?

Turning two panels?

The good thing about panels that you just described is that you can get that trend line data over time.


And you can know for sure if certain types of people have just decided to sit out a pole.

So, unfortunately, just the logistics.

Make it impossible to have 2,000 people that you serve a and then you go back a month or two later and all 2,000 of those people who take take your pole, take it again but the people who sit it out the second time, that’s also useful information, right?


If you know that your Republicans from the first time around didn’t show up the second time around you might go oh what’s going on here?

Doesn’t mean that they won’t vote but maybe they’re just less likely to participate.

That’s a benefit of the panel, you know, who’s participating in?

You know, who isn’t the downside is?

It’s really expensive to do the best folks.


That do it.

The Pew Research Center.

They have what’s called their American Trends panel.

It’s phenomenal.

Its large, it’s very well.

Demographically matched, but they sort of wisely are not in the horse race game, Pew.

Research Center is not out there, telling you who is up in the Pennsylvania Senate race.


They hold those cards, a little closer to their vest.

So while they can tell you big things about how has American attitudes on immigration changed over the years, they wisely have and Gallop is the same way.

A lot of these big name.

Polling firms have stepped away from the ballot test because that’s where you get proven, right or wrong.


You know, we’ll never know if 60 or 70 or 80 percent of Americans support the dreamers docket.

For instance, when we don’t know what the actual number is there there will never really be accountability but we will know does John fetterman get 51 or 54 or 57 or 47% of the vote in Pennsylvania.


There will be that Reckoning a panels are just very expensive to maintain.

Pain and they’re all so they don’t work at the speed, the political polling, sometimes requires of making sure you can get those thousand people to take your pole in 48 hours.


So you can get that number out into the new, the universe.

The really interesting tension that I see here is that we are asking more of poles at the same time that each individual pole is having these problems that they didn’t necessarily have 15 20 years ago, you have a much higher non-response rate and it’s really hard to know.


Who you are missing.

And so pollsters are having to add back in these sort of dummy variables that are really, really hard to get, right?

How do you solve this problem?

At Echelon?

What’s your response to the polling crisis?

One of the things we like to do is to try to make sure we’re using a lot of different methods to contact people.


So not every poll but some polls.

We do will take, for instance, the lists of people and we can text message them and then ask them to take a survey online.

So we’re not just depending on the people who are in this These existing online panels, we can reach new people who are not going to sign up to be in a panel but maybe it’ll take our pull.


We’re trying to keep questioners pretty short when we really need to get the ballot test, right.

A lot of pollsters will go in the field with these questionnaires that are 15 20 minutes long.

Nobody has time for that and so you’re losing people, halfway through the question, are there?

Like, I can’t do this anymore.

I gotta go and they hang up and then then you’re wondering about the really weird sample people who have 20 minutes to talk to a pollster.


So short questionnaires using lots of methods and the last thing that we do that I think is really important and more and more.

Posters are doing is using the voter file.

I don’t know how many people know that there is a publicly available list of every voter in a state that tells you know, how often you voted.


It doesn’t say who you voted for because, of course, we have the secret ballot but I can know that Jim Smith, who lives in Riverside, California is not registered with either political party and that he’s voted in three of the last four major elections.

And I can know his phone number.

I can know his address, I can, Text him.


If I am legitimately conducting research or working with a political campaign, you can do that.

And that means I can know from that list are the people.

I’m talking to.

Are they actually likely voters?

Are they not do?

I systematically.

Have a lot of Republicans, not taking my pole, and a lot of Democrats wanting to take it.


And those are some of the things we’re trying to do to experiment and see if we can build a better mousetrap.

All right.

Well, we’ve talked about the polling crisis.

Let’s talk about the news.

Republicans are clearly sir.

Aang they seem to be surging in the generic ballot.

They seem to be surging in individual states.


What’s going on?

Why do you think Republicans have had such a strong last two to three weeks?

In politics.

There is gravity that comes from the fundamentals.

So things.

Like how do people feel about the president?

Which party is in power and which party isn’t how’s the economy doing?


These are Big forces that you can just think of as exerting a gravitational pull on politics and every so often something big in seismic can happen that can change that for a moment.

So think the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe versus Wade.

That was a seismic change that sort of upended the gravity a little but eventually, gravity begins to reassert itself again, and as we’ve gotten toward these last few weeks, there may have been some voters who during the summer said, you know, I don’t like the way the economy is going but maybe gas is getting a little cheaper and I really don’t know if I can trust Republicans around certain social or cultural issues that are important to me as that has become a little bit more in the rearview mirror at least in terms of the the headlines things like oh wow, my gas is getting more expensive again that’s beginning to Creep back up in in the front of people’s minds.


So that’s what I think’s going on.

Where Republicans have begun to have a little bit of movement back there way is that it’s just these fundamentals.

Kind of reasserting themselves in this midterm.

Yeah, I mostly agree.

I think the aberration to explain here isn’t why Republicans are surging necessarily, but rather why Democrats had such a great late summer?


I mean, on 538 Republicans had a above 50% chance to win the senate in June, but then you had this unusual, Usual streak from Democrats.

You had the Dobbs decision.

Then you had gas prices coming down.

Then you had Donald Trump getting in the news for all the wrong reasons.


And then you have these legislative victories from President Biden.

And I feel like the Democrats kind of Drew a royal flush in August that made the polls.

Really, really favorable to them in a midterm Year we’re all things considered looking at the fundamentals, looking at the fact, the party in power tends to lose midterms anyway.


You know, they were clearly overachieving and now a couple of those Things are turning back voters in particular, seem to be focused much less on abortion.

Great issue for Democrats and more on the economy, which is a great issue for Republicans.

That’s where I want to ask my next question.


It seems like an article of faith that Republicans are trusted more with the economy.

While Democrats are trusted more with things like abortion.

Health Care, education.

Why in general do you think Republicans are trusted more on the economy?

I think Republicans wind up being trusted more on the economy because at least in the short term right now, they’re not the ones in charge, so the other folks are driving the car.


If you think the car is about to drive off a bridge, you say, well hey, I wasn’t behind the wheel and I think the contrast with the, you know, couple of years before the pandemic where it felt like things were actually getting better.

With the economy you had low unemployment as well as a stock market that was doing pretty well, you know, You may not love the last guy who was in office, but a lot of Voters may say I don’t like him but I do like the way my retirement account looked back then.


And so at least in the short-term that’s what I think is driving a lot of Voters to give Republicans a little bit of more of Trust on the economy.

I also think Republicans just like talking about those issues more, the talking about social and cultural issues.

You know I’ve studied this for a long time I think Republicans are aware that they are at odds with sort of the future of with with At odds are certainly were young voters are on a lot of those issues and they feel like if they talk about the economy that’s where there’s a little more alignment.


So they’ll talk about social and cultural issues in a primary.

But then, you know, try to talk about it less.

Where, for Democrats, they leaned into talking about those social issues, they think the things, you know, it’s a chicken or egg problem, right?

Is it?

The Republicans talk about the economy because they’re waiting on it or they winning on it because they talk about it more.


And they seem more comfortable saying this is something you should trust us on.

I think that’s what’s leading to Republicans having That Advantage at the moment, they’re not the ones in charge people, may be looking at the, the economy from at least immediately pre coded as something they’d like to get back to.

And that was, when the other party was in charge, you there’s this mid twit meme online.


That’s like, if I know describing a meme on a podcast is like the lowest possible form of Radio Entertainment, but I’m going to try to push ahead and do it.

Anyway, it’s this picture of a bell curve of intelligence and at the far left end, you have a stupid person, saying something simplistic.

And then in the middle of the top of the bell curve, the Intelligence person says something extremely complicated and then use the far right end of the curve and a brilliant person says the same simplistic thing.


And I mention this because I feel like there’s a certain explanation for what’s happened to Democrats.

That is the gas prices, explain everything idea like the dumb take is gas prices.

Explain everything you move up to like the mid to it opinion.

It’s like no you can’t say, gas prices, explain everything.


There’s so many factors that go into a midterm election.

There is a portion and there’s health care and there’s the direction of goal of markets and then he move actually.

The far right end of the graph, and it’s like no actually gas prices explain everything they were up.

Republicans are doing well.

They fell a lot.

Over the summer Democrats went on this win streak and now they’re kind of rising again.


Where do you plot yourself on this curve of gas prices?

Explain everything.

It is a big issue.

It is the economy, stupid.

But also it is just one price among many.

So voters are much more complicated than I think most pundits tend to give them credit for.


So for instance, a buddy of mine, Complicated than it did a meme.

That I just made up for the second.


But I’m actually going to defend the use of the game through this.

So, so voters.

Individually are they are not just like well, you know, what gasps yesterday was three dollars and fifty cents, but now today it’s three dollars and eighty cents.


So I was a Democrat and I’m a republican, like, that would be simplistic, right?

That’s not how voters are thinking voters are thinking I saw dr.

Oz on TV yesterday.

And I didn’t, he looked like he said, he said something kind of strange.

I didn’t.

Doesn’t he live in New Jersey?



I don’t think I like him and then they happen to get called that day.

And so it’s not you know, gas prices or just abortion or just does dr.

Oz live in New Jersey, driving things but it’s this combination of I feel insecure about the state of the world.

And do I like this guy or do I like this gal or not?


That’s all swirling in there, all of, which is to say, if you have something that is big and overriding and kind of cuts across, a lot of different people even in all of their complexity, but it’s okay.

To say yeah it’s gas prices because it trying to figure out the like infinitely complicated will in some states.


It’s because there’s a good candidate in some cases.

It’s because there’s an amendment on the ballot, dealing with abortion and that’s going to turn out different voters like, yes, politics is almost infinitely complicated.

But if you are looking for a single unified theory of this election, you could do worse than its gas prices.


I want to go through the four.

Most interesting, Senate races, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nevada.

And I’d like you to choose first, which is the most interesting of these for Senate races, which I think will almost certainly be the for that determine who controls the senate in November.


I’ve got to go with Georgia because I would not be surprised if we are not done with Georgia in November what people That is that Georgia?

Well, as you may recall, from the last time, we had Senate races in Georgia.

If you’re never done with Georgia, never done with Georgia.


If you get to 54 and I say this as a gator headed into Florida Georgia week.

So this is all, you know, I have some feelings about this is a mostly complex for.


But in Georgia you have to get to 50% or else, there’s a runoff, and this year, it’s not just in this Senate race Herschel Walker versus Rafael Warnock.


You also have to third-party candidates in the Mix who might bleed, you know, a pointer to hear there, but that in a really close race, makes it hard for anyone to get fifty percent.

So if no one gets 50%, then you have those to move on, you lose the effect of the third party candidates, but imagine a scenario where Georgia yet again is going to be deciding control of the United States.


Senate, you can imagine a voter who may be said, yeah I voted for Brian Kemp but I just can’t with these Senate candidates.

I’m going to skip it and then suddenly control of the US Senate is in play.

Maybe you suddenly turn out and go.

Gosh, I got to hold my nose for one of these candidates.


So I don’t like because whether Chuck Schumer Mitch, McConnell is running the United States and it is actually really important thing.

So I think that the runoff piece of Georgia is sort of underrated as a chaos variables in all of this Georgia.


To me is also the most interesting.

I mean fetterman versus oz in Pennsylvania is also lurid, but the Gap.

There is a A little bit bigger.

What we’ll get to that in just a second.

I have a couple follow-ups in Georgia, one follow-up is, if you look at the difference between the Democratic senator Warnock and the Democratic nominee for governor Stacey Abrams.


There are a lot more people who seem to be turning out or saying they’re turning out to vote for Warnock over Abrams Kemp, the incumbent Governor looks very likely to an election there whereas Herschel Walker for a variety of reasons is doing.

The worse.


What is the sum of the factors?

That you think explain the difference between how the Democrat is doing on the governor ticket versus the senate race?

First of all, unseating, an incumbent is challenging, especially when that has reasonably good approval ratings, you know, there are plenty of people that don’t necessarily love say the way Governor Camp handled Kovac, but there are a lot of people in Georgia who do think that, you know, keeping the state more open etcetera was a good thing.


And so when they think about Kemp, they’ve got a record they can point to and they like it or they don’t like it.

Whereas with the Republican candidate for Senate Herschel Walker, you know, there are some question marks there, you know, there’s there’s What would he be as a United States, Senator?


What would that mean for your life?

So it’s not hard to imagine somebody saying look, I feel pretty good about keeping the same governor and power but I don’t necessarily know that I want to send Herschel Walker to the US Senate.

The other thing to keep in mind about that race is that, you know, Kemp is someone who has not been embraced by Donald Trump.


He said, hey, I voted for Donald Trump, I supported and I just didn’t want to throw out.

Our electoral slate.

So sorry about that.

And so, if you are somebody who’s a republican, who’s not really a fan of Donald Trump, but you still think of yourself as a republican?

You can probably check that box for Brian Kemp and like go to sleep at night without feeling like you have, you know, sold out to the trumpets wing of the party.


Where that might be a harder sell for getting you to vote straight ticket, Republican all the way down.

And why do you think the revelations about Herschel Walker?

Have not seemed to Dent his popularity as much as some people might have otherwise thought.


So for those who need a little context through a series of expose, is published by The Daily Beast and others that have shown that Herschel.

Walker has, despite his pro-life opinion, his pro-life stance paid for several abortions.

These are allegations.


He also, you know, comes into this race.

With a lot of baggage himself, his his son has gone on Tick, Tock and on video and said that he thinks he considers his father to be a deadbeat dad.

Someone who slept around and didn’t support him.


I mean, this is a really, this is a candidate who is facing sort of the kind of October - October surprise, the Trump face in 2016 before his win.

And he doesn’t seem to be suffering so much from it in the polls.

Why do you think Indoors don’t have the same punch that they might have used to.


I think scandals can matter if they fundamentally conflict with who people who voters think you are already.

So, think about Donald Trump in Access Hollywood.

When that tape comes out, it’s shocking, right?

Because it’s this big October surprise.


Can you believe he said this on tape and yet how shocking was it really that Donald Trump is, you know, was caught on a hot mic saying something.

I’m inappropriate about women.

So I you know, when it comes to Herschel Walker, he had already sort of professed that he had, had this very imperfect past and had struggled with mental illness.


And so in that sense, I wonder to what extent that blunts, the impact of Revelations and accusations.

When people go, you know, I had kind of already priced this into how I already know he’s this imperfect person.

I already know that, you know, I’m not voting for someone who I may choose as my best friend or a romantic partner.


I’m voting for someone who I agree with, on the issues.

I think that’s part of it.

I still think Scandal.

Can matter if people genuinely believe you are one thing and then the evidence clearly shows you are another.

The other factor of course, here is the, how do you trust the evidence in front of you?


And there is such a deep-seated distrust of whether you want to say the media or political ADS mean, I can’t tell you the number of focus groups.

I sit through her people go.

You know, you show them political ads and Yeah yeah I don’t really believe that though.

I mean it does it have some residual effect people will say I don’t trust political ads and then three seconds later they’ll repeat to you a - claim they saw about the other candidate from political ad, the people’s just their their level of trusting, things like that has also gone down.


So even though, by all accounts, you seem to be a lot of people making accusations, very powerful ones, and there may actually literally be receipts.

It’s the sort of thing where I think people are just inclined to say I’m not really sure that I believe this and or the flip side.


Yeah, I can very easily believe.

This actually doesn’t change my opinion of this person.

I want to move to Pennsylvania where you have this race between John fetterman, the Democrat and dr.

Oz the Republican for much of the race John fetterman was up by a sizable margin.

He seems to have given up some points of dr.


Oz in the last few weeks, it’s hard to know exactly why very famously.

Federman has done some interviews that show that since the stroke to you.

Suffered several months ago, he still has difficulty.

Hearing the spoken word has to read some interviewers questions off a screen.


I don’t want to go too deep into exactly how the media should or should not represent people like that are men that are suffering the debilitating effects of a stroke.

I think it’s probably our responsibility to just shine a light on the truth but I am interested to know whether you think dr.

Oz is ketchup is real.


Do you think that the polls really are showing a Tighter and Tighter and Tighter race?


So my own polling has it with Federman with a slim lead, CNN, just put out some polling today.

I think sharing fetterman up by about six which is actually an improvement for fetterman over.


You know, that Trend that you just noted.

Some of this I think again, is that gravity just reasserting itself, right?

That Pennsylvania is the kind of state that Donald Trump was able to win.

Once it’s, this is a republican seat that is being filled in a republican year.

That those horses are just exerting themselves on the race and making some folks go, you know.


You can imagine, for instance, being kind of never Trump, Republican and going.

Like, there’s no way I’m voting for mastriano at the top of the ticket, but I have to keep my Republican card.

So, I’ll take the box for us and like, cut sort of coming home in that regard.

I just say who mastriano is a little bit of detail on the race, he’s running and also, why and every jumper might not vote for him.



So Doug mastriano is the Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania.

There was not really an establishment candidate in that race or at least not consolidation around one and so mastriano.

Is very prominently, he’s pretty far, right?

He’s a big Trump supporter.


He is a, does not believe that the election in 2020 was legitimate.

And as governor of Pennsylvania would have an enormous amount of power to control how elections are administered in Pennsylvania.

So pretty big deal.

Most polls show that he is down by almost double digits.


You could have been pulling air that could could be wrong.

He could still be governor of Pennsylvania, but that seems much less likely than Senator dr.

Oz But right now you can imagine, if you are never Trump, Republican you met you, you’re like, I cannot with this Governor guy.

I cannot with mastriano for governor, but I still will vote for Ozzy even though I have questions about him because I’m a Republican.


And I need to, I need to check the box for my party in that CNN poll that came out, Oz is actually doing well among independent voters, whose up by double digits.

Part of his problem is that he actually hasn’t Consolidated.

Republicans, if you are a democrat in the state of Pennsylvania, you are not tempted by doctor.


If you are voting for fetterman, but if you are a republican in Pennsylvania, their shows at least in that CNN poll some break away.

And so it’s a question of can ask them to consolidate Republicans and say hey even if you worried that I live in New Jersey, don’t you want Republicans in charge of the Senate.


That’s that’s still a big question outside of Georgia and Pennsylvania, when you look at your own polling and compare it to the National polling, is there another electoral surprise?

As that you are on, look out, watch for I’m not going to hold you to an explicit prediction that you’re putting money on.


But what is he surprised that we should have an eye on 1st November?

So, I am keeping my eye on two states.

I don’t necessarily think Republicans are likely to win, but they may be closer than people were expecting.

One of those is Washington State.


Patty Murray has been in the United States Senate for a long time.

You don’t think of Washington State.

A remotely Republican state.

And yet they’re Republicans have a good candidate.

Someone named Tiffany Smiley, who is running and some public polls have shown.


That may be closer than you would expect the other race to watch is right next door, in Oregon there for the governors race.

There’s some Shenanigans there were there three candidates instead of just too.

And so the Republican candidate is benefiting because the Democratic vote is getting split.


So you could in all of this wind up with a republican governor of the state of Oregon.

Wow, that would be shocking.

My last question for you is, I want to try to anticipate what the narratives might be after the midterm election.


And if Republicans win the house, which they are overwhelmingly likely to do and they win the Senate.

I think the narrative that comes out will be twofold number one.

Well, this is what should have happened.

Inflation is over eight percent, and the party in power.


Seats in a midterm election.

That’s just exactly what you would think.

If you only knew those two data points, but there will also be some blaming of the body Administration.

Why didn’t they attack all inflation further?

Why didn’t some of these candidates focus on issues that would have given them a better chance of winning yada yada yada but if what is currently, the odds on likelihood at least according to 538 by a sliver?


That the odds and likelihood is the Democrats barely hold on to the Senate, despite all of these bad things, and it seems to me, like the next day narrative is going to be Republicans, could have had this in the bag, but they nominated Herschel Walker, and Georgia.


They nominated a celebrity doctor in Pennsylvania.

They nominated mastriano, the nominated.

All these people that just couldn’t cut it in a general election and to the Republicans have a structural advantage in the electorate.

Have a talent selection problem in the party in large part because the talent selector is Donald Trump.


To what extent do you think?

Looking at all the evidence that you have?

That narrative is true.

That Republicans are putting themselves in overly complicated overly disadvantaged position by choosing nominees, who don’t serve very well to the general election public.


Well, the the trade-off of nominating someone Who is an outsider without experience?

Is on the one hand, that’s exactly what voters are saying.

They want.

On the other hand, it means you get a candidate who’s getting vetted in real time as they’re being as they’re running for office and so you wind up with surprises, you round up with gaffes you know that’s that’s the benefit and the downside and four Republicans think about where the GOP was ten years ago.


You were in the election where Mitt Romney was losing to Barack Obama.

You come out of that, you have this big autopsy process and the Republican party is trying to figure out gosh, why?

We lose and the prescription from Republicans in Washington.

I say not with disdain and I’m one of the people that sort of ascribed to this view.


As hey you’ve got to reach the middle, you’ve got a moderate on some certain cultural issues and so on and so forth.

And Donald Trump comes along and he’s a gaffe machine.

He’s, you know, relatively unvetted politically and he does the opposite of everything that that autopsy says.


And then he threw an improbable Black Swan series of events becomes a president of the United States.

So Republicans are going well, you know what, he’s the last person that one and when he was on the ballot in 2020, even though he didn’t win, Republicans still did reasonably well down-ballot.


You know, this is not like the 2010 election, where Republicans were had only 180 seats in the, ER, 179 seats in the house.

And you had this huge wave crashing because it had receded out so far, Republicans are really close to a majority in both Chambers right now.


So I think that even though, There will be a lot of good reason to believe that Donald Trump hurt.

Republicans chances by pushing candidates who he likes, but the center of the electorate did not.

I don’t necessarily know that there is suddenly this like, aha moment for most Republicans to go.


Gosh, this guy has led us astray when we asked in my firm’s polling.

We asked Republicans, do you think that Donald Trump is helping or hurting Republicans chances in the midterms?

And by a 60 1227 margin.

They said we think Donald Trump is helping because Republicans What you’re asking among Republicans, among Republicans, guess that, they think Donald Trump is helping that he energizes people that he’s, he’s the one that’s got the winning formula.


Only about, you know, a quarter of Republicans say no, no, he’s making things worse.

So I don’t see the party.

If Republicans underperform in a few weeks, I don’t see them stepping back and going gosh, where did we go wrong?

And what do we do?

Moving forward?


I just don’t see a lot of that on the horizon.

Is it possible that the even If voters continue to trust Donald Trump, they are trusting him for the wrong reasons, empirically.

Like it is possible for 61 percent of Republicans in your survey to be wrong, in the trust that they place in Donald Trump, for the purposes of maximizing, the success of the Republican party, right?


You could have, you could have ninety-nine percent of Republicans say, I think Donald Trump is a sensational Talent selector for the state of Georgia.

While Herschel Walker loses.

A clearly winnable election against Rafael Warnock Right.

So I guess that’s the tension that I’m just extremely interested in because it seems to me that Trump is simultaneously.


Clearly the most powerful person in the Republican party, and someone who also hasn’t won a lot of popularity contest.

He lost the popular vote in 2016, then lost the 2018, midterms then lost the popular vote, again, and now might be in the process of being a part of four consecutive elections, where in he lost, The, the majoritarian aspect of that election.


I’m this is not going to turn into an electoral college.

You know, we Fest here, he won the election, 16, fair and square but that’s just the tension that I find.

Most interesting.

If my second scenario comes to pass well in this is why Donald Trump’s constant focus on re-litigating.


The 2020 campaign is so important because for him, in order to maintain that sort of brand, as I’m the guy who knows how to win.

He has to be able to say oh ignore that 2020 election.

That wasn’t real.


Actually I won.

I mean, that’s as you know, we talked about this as this big threat to democracy.

And so on so forth it and and it is to have so many Americans who think that when they go cast a ballot, it’s either not going to be counted properly.

That this is, it’s scary but part of the reason why he does it is just purely because to him losing is not part of his brand and he, and you can’t handle that.


And so and a lot of Republicans as well.

Don’t think of Donald Trump as someone who has led the party astray.

I hear it Christi Anderson.

Thank you very, very much.

Appreciate it.

Thanks for having me.

Thank you for listening.

Plain English is produced by Devon manzi.


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