Do These Poll Numbers Conform to Your Experience?

 

I’m looking at the results of a CNN/ORC poll released a few hours ago and finding some of the results truly bewildering. Go have a close look at those numbers, then come back and tell me what’s going on back home, because I’m confused. I’m not surprised at all that Trump has (by far) the highest name recognition. Nor am I surprised that this translates into “approval.” It’s the rest of it I don’t get.

Should I be as surprised as I am that 43 percent responded that they’d never heard of Carly Fiorina? Their view of her was neither “favorable” nor “unfavorable.” It was “never heard of her.” More than half the country (give or take a sampling error of about five percent) has never heard of Scott Walker. No name recognition at all.

Does that sound right to you? I wonder how many of the candidates — Trump apart — are better known outside of the US than in it? I suspect that in many countries, quite a number of them would be. I’d be curious to see the polls.

This baffles me, too: Republicans (not all voters surveyed) were asked, “Do you think Republicans have a better chance of winning the presidency in 2016 if Donald Trump is the party’s nominee, or do they have a better chance of winning with someone else as the party’s nominee?” They answered:

Better chance with D. Trump 38%

Better chance with someone else 58%

No opinion 4%

(Sampling Error +/-4.5)

I don’t know how much overlap there is among the group of people who think Trump would vastly outperform all the other candidates in every other domain about which they were asked and the group that overwhelmingly doesn’t think he can be elected, but clearly, there’s a lot of overlap.

Go back to Fiorina, again. Look at “never heard of her” by age bracket: 18-34, 61%. 35-49, 46%. 50-63, 33%. 65+, 28%. I’m singling out Fiorina because I can understand voters feeling that all these guys are sort of a blur, or getting confused about who’s who, but find it hard to imagine that so few Americans even know the name of the only woman in the bunch.

And what’s up with the 18-34 age bracket? Why are people in that bracket so much less likely to recognize these names?

If you were to step outside, walk down the street, and ask people the questions these pollsters asked, do you think people around you would reply the same way? If so, why? If not, why not?

 

There are 76 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    I’m baffled by what you find baffling. This absolutely conforms to my experience.

    This seems a lot like football fans being baffled by non-football fans for not having heard of Tom Brady.

    Following Presidential politics at this point in time is something of a hobby. And most people are sensible enough to not share our hobby. A few months from now they’ll Google and, like the old lady at the Super Bowl party who says “This Tim Brody is good”, they’ll catch up.

    • #1
  2. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Alternate headline: Parisian Shocked American Young Adults Ignorant.

    It’s the classic American conundrum: The actions of the government should have as little impact on one’s daily existence (good) and that leads to an uninformed and unengaged electorate because the direct impact is limited (bad).

    Which is why liberalism is always popular with youth. Promise them goodies that won’t require them to pay attention to the details and you get their vote. And it dooms democracy in the end.

    • #2
  3. John Hendrix Thatcher
    John Hendrix
    @JohnHendrix

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Republicans (not all voters surveyed) were asked, “Do you think Republicans have a better chance of winning the presidency in 2016 if Donald Trump is the party’s nominee, or do they have a better chance of winning with someone else as the party’s nominee?”

    They answered: Better chance with D. Trump 38%

    The percentage of Republicans who think that Trump is electable, if that poll can be believed, is so disappointing. That opinion is beyond frivolously irrational–it is stupid.

    Update:

    Spent several minutes thinking this information over. I was in pursuit of any likely rationale to make me feel better.  I think I hit on one.

    At this point in the cycle it is cost-free to claim to some pollster calling on the telephone that you think it isn’t going to get any better than Trump. It’s not a vote in the primary so there is no consequence.

    And it is fun: you get to register a raspberry with the GOP elites.

    I’d like to think that an impending primary will focus Republican voter’s minds.

    • #3
  4. Real Jane Galt Coolidge
    Real Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    I was pleased that Fiorina did so well in the JV debate.  It was the first time anybody but us political junkies have even heard of her much less knew she was running for President.  Now at least a few people know that the GOP is running something other than rich WASPs.   They now think the GOP is running their normal rich WASPs and a few token candidates that will not matter much.

    In my local area if you were to ask people who is running for President most would say HRC, Trump and Bush.

    • #4
  5. Austin Murrey Inactive
    Austin Murrey
    @AustinMurrey

    Do the crosstabs indicate they polled no one in the Northeast, West, Midwest and Urban areas?

    If so, how useful is that?

    John Hendrix: The percentage of Republicans who think that Trump is electable, if that poll can be believed, is so disappointing.

    Are you saying that some Republicans believe that someone who’s demonstrably unfit for the presidency with no relative experience and who spouts insults and contradictory platitudes could be elected?!

    Heavens, wherever could they have gotten that idea?

    • #5
  6. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Someone made the point last week that Trump has probably helped candidates like Fiorina by drawing such a huge audience to the Republican TV debate.

    This conforms with my experience as well. The vast majority of people I know do not enjoy talking politics. Many of them pay attention only to local news, if they seek out political news at all. Americans generally prefer to ignore government.

    • #6
  7. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    Yep, there are plenty of ignorant people in America, and a number of them vote.

    • #7
  8. livingthehighlife Inactive
    livingthehighlife
    @livingthehighlife

    Does the 18-34 year old bracket even watch news on TV anymore?  Hasn’t that age bracket, through social media, intentionally eliminated almost all political news from their daily information consumption?

    This is the uphill battle for traditional, non-celebrity candidates; they don’t have the name recognition outside politics, so they are less able to break through the social media barriers of the younger generation.

    • #8
  9. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Claire,

    With this many candidates in the field, with the many poorly run polls, with the slightest change in methodology producing wildly different results and with everything perfect it’s only +- 4% accurate, I don’t think we want to draw too many conclusions just yet.

    The next debate will be on Sept. 16. Let’s see what the shake out is then.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #9
  10. John Hendrix Thatcher
    John Hendrix
    @JohnHendrix

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Should I be as surprised as I am that 43 percent responded that they’d never heard of Carly Fiorina? Their view of her was neither “favorable” nor “unfavorable.” It was “never heard of her.” More than half the country (give or take a sampling error of about five percent) has never heard of Scott Walker. No name recognition at all.

    Does that sound right to you?

    Yes.  These names are familiar to the Ricochetti because they are topics of conversation.  They aren’t to normal people because this sort of thing is just not on their radar.

    I think Casey characterized it correctly: the Ricochetti are similar to sports fans in that they are interested in their favorite topic, are on the look-out for new information on their preferred topic and tend to remember the arcana because it is important to them.

    • #10
  11. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    EJHill: Alternate headline: Parisian Shocked American Young Adults Ignorant.

    No, I’m an American. And if you believe that you’ve got your finger on the pulse better than I do, prove it: Make testable predictions about what these polls will say before they come out.

    It’s the classic American conundrum: The actions of the government should have as little impact on one’s daily existence (good) and that leads to an uninformed and unengaged electorate because the direct impact is limited (bad).

    Might be. I wonder if there’s any way to match “people who come into little contact with government” and “people who don’t feel engaged with politics?” I don’t think they’d map one-to-one, do you? Very few people have no contact with government. You have to go way off the grid to have that.

    • #11
  12. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Austin Murrey: Do the crosstabs indicate they polled no one in the Northeast, West, Midwest and Urban areas?

    I couldn’t figure out whether it was for just those questions, or all of them. If neither of us could figure it out, it’s probably not just me who’s confused. 

    • #12
  13. Mike Silver Member
    Mike Silver
    @Mikescapes

    Ignorance (profound) tops my list. Too early for voter interest. Far too many Republican candidates dilute interest and recognition, let alone content. More than half the country are dems or dem leaning to care about those you mention. Low voter  attention span – a corollary of ignorance. Trump, the squeaky wheel,  keeps it simplistic for a simplistic public. I live in uber liberal NYC. If I stepped outside, and if I asked someone these questions, and if I heard their answers, I’d likely be arrested for homicide.

    • #13
  14. Carthago Inactive
    Carthago
    @Carthago

    Obviously, I was aiming for “the funny” in my post yesterday, so I scrupulously avoided any serious analysis of the current state of the race.  But while I was writing (and writing, and writing … ), I couldn’t help but think that maybe the polls really are a deliberate fabrication.  I’m not suggesting that a cabal of pollsters is cooking the data, but rather that we may be seeing the result of millions of individual decisions to provide knowingly false information to pollsters.

    Call it the Brash Tory Factor.  The classic Shy Tory Factor is a phenomenon noticed in the UK where people will tell pollsters they are voting Labour because they don’t want the pollster to think badly of them, though they privately intend to vote Conservative.  Maybe in modern America, we have turned this on its head.  Maybe millions of people are deliberately deceiving pollsters  —  even if it makes them appear crazy  —  as a way to drive media coverage of the election toward issues they care about.

    If a poll respondent cares passionately about illegal immigration, but thinks Donald Trump is insane, they are probably really voting for Cruz, Walker, or Perry.  But if they tell a pollster they are voting for Cruz, it’s a vote for more anti-SCOTUS coverage.  If they say Walker, they get teachers unions.  If they say Perry, people just laugh.

    But if they lie and say they back Trump, what do they get?  Coverage of the issue they care about.

    • #14
  15. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Aaron Miller: The vast majority of people I know do not enjoy talking politics.

    Do you think that’s because they think it’s such a mine field, and don’t want to risk offending people whose views are different? Or do you think it’s because they just think it’s boring? Huge difference, there. I know lots of people who are afraid to talk about politics — if in the US, for fear of social censure; in other places, for fear of worse — doesn’t mean they don’t have strong opinions that they keep to themselves.

    Many of them pay attention only to local news, if they seek out political news at all. Americans generally prefer to ignore government.

    I’m asking myself whether the way I grew up was really weird, or if that much has truly changed. We gathered around the television during Watergate; we had mock elections when I was in grade school (Ford won my class but Carter won the country); everyone in my neighborhood watched the Reagan-Carter debate … my mother was unusually indifferent to politics, but I suspect that otherwise mine was a pretty typical middle-class household. 

    Hard for me to say what’s going on when I’m not there, and also hard to be sure what I really remember, but I know that Americans talked a lot about politics when I was a kid. All of my memories after I turned about 13 or 14 can be tossed out — after that, they ceased to be representative because I put myself in lots of environments where people would be more likely to talk about politics (volunteering on political campaigns, studying politics). So I guess I don’t know.

    • #15
  16. nom de plume Inactive
    nom de plume
    @nomdeplume

    If you post or comment on this site, then you probably already know more about the candidates than +95% of your fellow Americans.  It matches my experience that few know who Fiorina is or Kasich.

    I also think we’re moving into uncharted territory.  As a nation we are divided – splintered would be a better word.  That is bad news for Democrats who are finding it harder and harder to coalesce their “identity groups” into a viable political order.

    That DC is broken and neither Rs nor Ds are a solution is creeping into the conscience of even the lowest information voter.  Hence the appeal of the “outsider/usurper” in the form of one Donald Trump.

    We’re in a free-fall accelerated by many factors; an imperial Obama, a boundless court, moral decay, etc…

    If you think Trump is too awful to be the GOP nominee, think again.

    If you think Hillary is too awful to be the DEM nominee, think again.

    We’re falling faster than you know.

    The question is when and where do we hit bottom?

    nom nom

    • #16
  17. billy Inactive
    billy
    @billy

    This poll reminds me of an appearance by Obama on The David Letterman Show back in 2012 (or maybe 2011). Somehow, the subject of the national debt came up. So Letterman asks, very casually, “So what is the debt up to, 8 trillion?”

    (At the time I think it was well over 10 trillion.)

    Obama very deftly elided over the question and moved on to his friendlier terrain, bashing the Republican Congress.

    But there was an unmistakable, audible gasp from the audience: They had no idea that the debt had grown so large. It was the first they had heard of such a thing.

    It must be hard to grasp living abroad, but the purpose of modern journalism is to keep the American people as misinformed and even more importantly, distracted as possible.

    So it is no surprise that the names Fiorina or Walker are unknown to the bulk of the American public. Or that the Administration has endorsed a nuclear Iran. Or that the majority of the American people don’t realize that Social Security, Disability Insurance, or Medicare programs will soon be underwater.

    What my friends, family, and neighbors don’t know doesn’t surprise me anymore.

    I am more surprised that you are surprised by the extent to which the average citizen is content to simply disengage.

    But you have been abroad for quite some time.

    • #17
  18. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    nom de plume: If you think Trump is too awful to be the GOP nominee, think again. If you think Hillary is too awful to be the DEM nominee, think again

    If you think Sanders is too awful, think again …

    • #18
  19. danok1 Member
    danok1
    @danok1

    The results for “Registered Republicans” includes people who are NOT registered Republicans:

    “BASED ON 283 REGISTERED VOTERS WHO DESCRIBE THEMSELVES AS REPUBLICANS AND 183 REGISTERED VOTERS WHO DESCRIBE THEMSELVES AS INDEPENDENTS WHO LEAN REPUBLICAN, FOR A TOTAL OF 466 REGISTERED REPUBLICANS — (SAMPLING ERROR: +/- 4.5% PTS.)”

    How much effect that has, I have no idea.

    • #19
  20. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    billy: am more surprised that you are surprised by the extent to which the average citizen is content to simply disengage. But you have been abroad for quite some time.

    I have been, but until recently — up until maybe the past four years — I would have said that it in no way diminished my sense of deeply understanding how things work in America. Now America is doing stuff that surprises me. I wish I could come home for a few months and just have a look myself. I’m sure I’d have a much better sense of what’s going on if I could.

    • #20
  21. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Should I be as surprised as I am that 43 percent responded that they’d never heard of Carly Fiorina? Their view of her was neither “favorable” nor “unfavorable.” It was “never heard of her.” More than half the country (give or take a sampling error of about five percent) has never heard of Scott Walker. No name recognition at all. Does that sound right to you?

    Seems right. I’m surprised over 50% have heard of Fiorina.  We who pay attention to this stuff are odd balls.

    The positive of being the odd ball who pays attention is that I know many right leaning people who end up asking me who I’m supporting and why.  I have out sized influence because I pay attention and people around me know that I do.

    • #21
  22. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: No, I’m an American. And if you believe that you’ve got your finger on the pulse better than I do, prove it: Make testable predictions about what these polls will say before they come out.

    You are still an isolated American. You can consume all the American media you want but you don’t have three young adult children in college (one of which is also a Marine) and one in a public middle school.

    My two non-military children perfectly reflect this demographic. Raised in a conservative household, exposed to progressive nonsense in school, they show little interest in politics until someone mentions college debt forgiveness or some similar nonsense. Up until this point in their lives they have had little to no responsibility outside of school.

    Yes, they have jobs. But if they lose that job they may lose their phone or can’t go to the movies. They do understand mom and dad are their safety net. And they like that. They’re comfortable with that. And they’re comfortable with the idea that government should fill that role, too.

    And not being surprised is not equatable to prognostication. One is not surprised Tom Brady can win a Super Bowl without the ability to pick the final score.

    • #22
  23. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Every comment is completely accurate – there is a serious disconnect. The younger set are in another world – plus there is a deep disappointment among conservatives, so there may be selective hearing right now. The recent Ricochet article about not sending the usual donation to the Republican party spoke loudly. I was a liberal Democrat until 2000 – made the switch – now I am seriously thinking about becoming an Independent, to send a strong message.

    I don’t see or hear (yet) a lot of media coverage on Carly or Scott Walker, or even Jeb for that matter. Too early(?) – or they are waiting for the Trump train to slow down? It’s not. Also confusing that there are so many candidates, and we may not be done. Most people are focused on life, work, raising children amidst the craziness, and making ends meet.

    So much damage has been done by the current in charge – a seemingly unstoppable wave of liberalism (socialism?) washing over every aspect of daily life. Americans are feeling it in their wallet, cost increases and red tape from health care changes, job changes across the board from so many new regulations, racial discontent, strong push towards alternate lifestyles, burdens of huge influx of refugees, border safety, religious persecution, freedom of speech curtailed,  It is tiring actually – Trump is saying how people feel so he’s popular for that reason – hope the better candidates get that message and find ways to capture the support they need to win.

    • #23
  24. John Penfold Member
    John Penfold
    @IWalton

    There is of course rational ignorance so just us junkies read this stuff, but it’s more than that.   The drip drip of modern culture with strong political content is absorbed through osmosis.  I noticed it every time I returned to the US from a foreign posting.  Now I see and hear real hate from people I used to have fun arguments with on political economic policy matters.   

    • #24
  25. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    I will say Walker surprises me more than Fiorina.  Unless you follow business news and knew her from her HP days, it’s possible to have not cared about a losing candidate in a CA Senate race.  Walker though was national news and won three elections in four years in a very contentious, very public battle with teacher unions.  I find that a little hard to believe.  It’s possible people aren’t connecting the name if he’s just a name in a list, but if you asked them about the WI governor who fought the teachers union more than half would know who you’re talking about.

    • #25
  26. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: This baffles me, too: Republicans (not all voters surveyed) were asked, “Do you think Republicans have a better chance of winning the presidency in 2016 if Donald Trump is the party’s nominee, or do they have a better chance of winning with someone else as the party’s nominee?” They answered: Better chance with D. Trump 38% Better chance with someone else 58% No opinion 4% (Sampling Error +/-4.5) I don’t know how much overlap there is among the group of people who think Trump would vastly outperform all the other candidates in every other domain about which they were asked and the group that overwhelmingly doesn’t think he can be elected, but clearly, there’s a lot of overlap.

    I read the whole poll. This was the last question.

    What is interesting to me is that this question was only asked about Trump. Did I miss something?

    I’d like to know how this sample would answer that question in reference to Jeb Bush.

    Strangely they didn’t ask, or publish. Hmmm….

    • #26
  27. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    An interesting tidbit from the CNN poll:

    Trump is also most trusted on social issues, 19% say he’s their top choice to handle that.

    An interesting result considering that the conservative base is heavily anti-abortion, while Trump is vocally pro-abortion and pro-Planned Parenthood.

    Given that Trump was the overall first choice for 24% of respondents, this implies that 79% of Trump’s supporters agree with his pro-abortion stance (assuming that 19% also picked him as their overall choice).

    Which suggests that either:

    a) most of Trump’s supporters aren’t actually paying attention, or

    b) most of his supporters, even if Republicans, aren’t really conservative, or

    c) most of Trump’s supporters just aren’t politically very serious

    • #27
  28. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Mendel: Which tells us that either: a) Trump’s supporters aren’t actually paying attention, or b) Trump’s supporters, even if Republicans, aren’t really conservative

    It does. No other possible way to read that. It’s incredibly disturbing to me, because I am a conservative, and apparently there is no longer a political party that takes seriously what I thought were my fairly mainstream conservative beliefs.

    • #28
  29. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    On a quick perusal there was one item in this survey which did surprise me, Jeb Bush’s Unfavorable numbers. It has long been apparent that his name would be toxic in the general election but based on this poll his Unfavorable numbers are on par with Trump:

    All Americans: Trump 59% Bush 56%

    Registered Voters: Trump 58% Bush 57%

    That is even worse than I suspected. They appear to have spiked since his debate performance as well which bodes rather poorly for his campaign as people see more of him.

    Beyond that though nothing immediately caught my eye as particularly surprising, on par with how I imagined at this early stage of the election cycle.

    • #29
  30. RyanFalcone Member
    RyanFalcone
    @RyanFalcone

    In my experience, the folks who should pay attention to this stuff the most are the parents/families. These are precisely the people who pay the least attention because a) they are just too busy and b) they aren’t the target of special interest groups who are specifically trying to grow political support.

    In my experience 18-34 year-olds are very informed but much of their info is false or very superficial. These folks like the idea of being able to say that they are informed about stuff but who has time to put in the work to be truly informed about….stuff. Thus….John Stewart.

    • #30
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.