Search Data Help us Understand Voters and Make Better Forecasts
Where were you on Saturday, November 7, 2020, when Pennsylvania was called for Biden? The race was so close we barely breathed for three days.
Why did we not see this coming? Biden only won Georgia by .25%, Arizona by .3%, and Wisconsin by .6%. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
Why do pollsters keep getting presidential election forecasts wrong? There are three main reasons.
The US electoral college makes presidential election forecasting nearly impossible. The states (except Maine and Nebraska) award all of their electoral votes to the state’s popular vote winner. …
The leading expert on presidential election forecasting is 538, led by Nate Silver. They report that pollsters learned from their mistakes in 2016. For example, they now include more people beyond big cities and with no college education. Hopefully, their forecast accuracy will improve.
But election polling is worrisome. Do people tell pollsters the truth? Is a fully representative cross-section of the voting public reached by pollsters? And, do pollsters ask tough questions that cut to the core of what motivates US voters?
Tradition has it that if you ask someone how they will vote, they tell you the truth. This is no longer a strong assumption. Your vote is a private matter. …
New Facts Show the Prominent Role of Racism in US Elections
On August 24 at the 2020 Republican convention, Niki Haley declared: “America is not a racist country.” This was a perfect example of racism denial, and far more insidious than Trump’s obvious delusion: “I’m the least racist person there is anywhere in the world.”
Blacks know first-hand that racism is systemic. And the facts have long proved them right. Now we have new facts about racism in America. …
This postmortem of the 2016 presidential election reads like a dystopian nightmare, where the archvillain deploys marketing science and artificial intelligence to successfully conquer the world’s largest country.
Then the 2020 forecast reads like an unsatisfying Ian Fleming novel, where the world is saved by an unenlightened giant.
But our horror story isn’t fiction. Amoral marketing lies at the heart of Trump’s victory in 2016. And Trump’s leading 2016 accomplice, Facebook, is the reason why Trump might lose in 2020.
To make an accurate 2020 election prediction, we can’t ignore the caldron — no, the cesspool — of issues engulfing us. White supremacists were highly active in 2016 and their positions were embraced by many American voters. …
What was once unprecedented is now normal. Facts are fake news. “Truthful campaign ad” is an oxymoron. Alternative facts and conspiracy theories are more powerful than science. Career experts are deep state. Confessed criminals are pardoned. Hate speech is a 1st Amendment right. Brandishing assault weapons is a 2nd Amendment right. Ingested bleach kills coronavirus. Testing increases coronavirus. Face masks give you coronavirus.
Wrong is right.
This article pursues two basic questions:
We tend to blame leaders, not their followers. We like to think Hitler created Nazi Germany or Mussolini made Italy fascist. But the inconvenient truth is these infamous leaders were created by their followers. …
Occasionally we hear about massive US companies paying low or no federal income tax. Amazon is a recent example; it paid no federal tax in 2018 on $11.2 billion in profit. Instead, it received a federal tax rebate of $129 million. So, in 2019 the effective tax rate for Amazon was -1%.
Most Americans think corporations pay too little in taxes. For example, Gallup reports that 68% of US citizens believe corporations pay too little in federal taxes (average from 2004 through 2019).
Even FORTUNE magazine says corporate taxes are too low. They say Trump’s new tax bill made the deficit soared by 48% from 2017 to 2019. They took this position in late 2019 before the massive deficit spending now required to fight coronavirus. …
The US is experiencing a sea change. We are moving through a fundamental shift in how we think about racism. It is a personal and public journey … maybe even a revolution.
Americans are engaged in self-reflection. We are looking inward and finding attitudes and assumptions that are not consistent with who we want to be going forward. We are educating ourselves by watching free movies and documentaries about racial injustice on streaming services. We are reading books on the history of racism in America.
We are also reconsidering our silence — even apathy — toward racism. We are opting to take public stands against racism, whether with family, friends, or strangers. …