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Opinion polls about abstract policy questions are not reliable predictors of elections.

Posted by John Reed on

WSJ op-ed says voters want limited government.
You know what? That is obvious nonsense. Yeah they have some opinion polls.
Try looking at the last election for the answer to what voters were looking for, instead of opinion polls/
Females even those who cannot get pregnant, want abortion. Some blacks want candidates who are the same color as them. A Chicago talk radio host recently said that the radical black teachers union guy who just won Chicago mayor because of affluent white female voters presumably voting ideology. In 2020 few voted FOR Biden. Many voted AGAINST Trump.
The main problem with opinion polls is you can put limited government on the poll questionnaire, but you cannot put it on the ballot. Reagan said government was the problem. Trump had no such clear message. He was more anti-establishment than smaller government. He did reduce regulation, but I am not sure anyone knew that or voted for it.
The lesser of two evils is probably actual most ballot choice. Only candidate name polls can pick that up.
Yeah, in the abstract many maybe most voters prefer less government. But government employees do not. Most of them are Dems. And a ton of women don’t give a s*** about anything but abortion if it is at risk. Other one-issue voters are obsessed with AR-15s—either banning or getting them.
Spare us these abstract discussions as if we were economics students in class at college. These matters do not appear on the actual ballot unless you have a rare candidate like Reagan who makes a big deal of that fact. The op-ed author urges the GOP to emphasize shrinking government. Would that work? I doubt it. Also, I think political campaign decision makers have to decide during the campaign according to what is happening. 2016 had Hillary emails. 2020, Hunter’s laptop. These are the things on which victory often turns. In 1980, Reagan emphasized shrinking government, but he probably won votes more with his movie star persona, personality, and actor skills.
Politics ain’t a college bull session about best policies.

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  • For what it’s worth, I consider myself to be a constitutional conservative and an economic libertarian.

    Particularly as to the former, I would object to the US government giving me Shania Twain and a Hostess cupcake factory, because the US Constitution does not explicitly authorize it to do so.

    Unfortunately, far too many (I guess the great majority) of my fellow citizens don’t care about the limitations the Constitution places on federal powers, and they’re glad to use the feds to confiscate others’ resources and transfer such to them.

    Roger P. Glass on

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