Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Who's Gonna Win This Thing?, Part III: A Poll Gone Mad

Here is a poll that really should knock your socks off. It's the latest from NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist, and it included asking whether Joe Biden or Donald Trump would do more in a second term to weaken democracy. Overall, it was a near tie between the two, as 46% of respondents said Biden would weaken democracy as opposed to 48% of respondents who said Trump would. Among independents, 53% said Biden would weaken democracy as compared to 42% for Trump.

Whoa! There is one candidate on the ballot this year who has done more to weaken democracy than, arguably, all of his predecessors combined. This candidate politicized the position of attorney general, tried to use foreign aid to advance his own personal goals, tried to overturn an election result and, oh yeah, fomented an insurrection at the Capitol. If he's reelected, he has plans to implement some variant of fascism, and he almost certainly will try not to leave office when his term is up. The other candidate is tied with roughly 40 of his predecessors, Democratic, Republican, Democratic-Republican and Whig, with a score of 0 on a scale of 0 to 10, when 0 is "tried their level best to honor the Constitution" and 10 is "Trump."

Although this is nominally a subjective judgment, it's certainly clear to us that there's an objectively right answer as to which candidate is far and away the less likely to weaken democracy. If you accept that premise, then here are some theories as to what might be going on:

  1. Trump supporters are being oversampled

  2. Jokesters/Saboteurs are being oversampled

  3. People who represent themselves as independents, but are not, are being oversampled

  4. That Fox propaganda is propagating (propagandating?) very widely

  5. Some voters want to ban abortion so badly, they are willing to deep six democracy to do so

  6. Because it's a squishy question, some respondents are adopting... unorthodox interpretations. For example, "Joe Biden supports Israel, so he's a threat to democracy."

Anyhow, it continues the theme of this mini-series: There is good reason to take current polling, regardless of what it says or who it favors, with multiple grains of salt. (Z)

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