Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Bad

Apologies for the delayed second posting, but J-terms have a way of absorbing one's time and energy.  Additionally, the real action of the invisible primary isn't heating up just yet in ways that are easily seen.  That said, we'll make our best efforts to catch glimpses of the action when we can.

As part of this blog's central goal of throwing light on the invisible primary, we'll have to discuss the good coverage alongside the bad.  Speaking to the bad, I encountered this article over at the Huffington Post the other day which really typifies the way we shouldn't be covering the 2016 race at this point.  The literature is pretty clear that polling data at this stage is rather superfluous.  Though it is certainly possible that such polls could identify what Cohen et al dub "focal points" in the parties' triangulation on nominees, it's far from certain that those identified by the mass public at this point in the cycle will wind up being the major players when the primary campaigns begin in earnest in the coming year or so.   Recall, that at roughly this point in the 2000 election cycle George W. Bush was often confused for his father in polls and that he was a distant blip on the polling radar behind Colin Powell, Jack Kemp, and even Dan Quayle.  How Governor Bush made up for that "weakness" was a classic invisible primary campaign that focused on winning the support of Republican governors from coast to coast.

None of this is to suggest that the dozen or so candidates that registered in PPP survey won't wind up being players in 2016 - some undoubtedly will - but polling like this isn't the best way for us to predict who's going to make the strongest run in the coming nomination contests.

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