RSS

Ignore the 2016 presidential polls

February 3, 2014, at 4:58 PM

We’re two years away from the presidential primaries, yet new polls are being released every week that test possible 2016 matchups.

The latest is a new CNN/ORC poll that shows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) now trailing Hillary Clinton (D) in a presidential race by 16 points.

Political scientist Jonathan Bernstein makes the academic case that general election polls at this early date are essentially worthless.

Writes Bernstein: "The results are some messy mix of relative party standing, candidate name recognition, recent press reports about the candidates, and who knows what else. Any relationship with events taking place in the fall of 2016 is almost totally coincidental."

But forget about the political science for a moment. Does anyone seriously think Hillary Clinton would beat any Republican presidential candidate — let alone Chris Christie — by that large a margin?

After the party conventions, which take place in the summer before Election Day, partisans almost always line up behind their party nominees. Until that happens, most polls don’t make any sense.

No one loves presidential campaign coverage more than me and there are some important questions to consider: Will Hillary Clinton run for president? If she does, will she be challenged in a primary? How will the Republican field shake out with no viable front-runners?

But for now, let’s just ignore the presidential polls. They’re meaningless.

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Facebook

Twitter

RSS

Subscribe to the Week