Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Quote of the Day (Roger Kimball, With Smug, Inaccurate Election Predictions)

“I write toward the end of September, when many pollsters are still treating their prognostications as a form of fan fiction. For example, one poll has star trooper Mark Kelly ahead of Blake Masters by 6.2 points in the Arizona race for US Senate. That, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is ridiculous. Punditry isn’t prophecy, but mark my words: Blake Masters, absent some intervening catastrophe, is going to win that race and win convincingly.

“I am going to stick my neck out and say the same about John Fetterman and Mehmet Oz in the Senate race in Pennsylvania. ‘The polls’ have Fetterman ahead by 4.5 points. But… Dr. Oz, smooth, articulate, personable, is going to crush Fetterman.”— American art critic, editor and conservative social commentator Roger Kimball, “Poll Position,” The Spectator, November 2022

Want me to continue, Faithful Reader? Very well. In this same article, Electoral Nostradamus Kimball went on to say that Republicans probably “will increase their numbers by between thirty-five and fifty seats in the House and three to five seats in the Senate.”

The final results? As of this writing (a lot closer to the event than Kimball’s “end of September”!), with 98% of expected votes reporting, Kelly had 51.4% of the vote to Masters’ 46.5%. In Pennsylvania, also with 98% reporting, Fetterman had 51% to Oz’s 46.5%.

Nationwide, the Republicans will not gain control of the Senate, and though they are achingly close right now to taking the House, they will have nowhere near the thirty-five to fifty seats Kimball expected.

All  of this without "an intervening catastrophe" in the last month...unless you discount taking a good look at the catastrophic candidates put up in these cases by the GOP.

Smugness is hardly the province of one political party. You might recall that six years ago, Democrats were gobsmacked when Donald Trump upset Hillary Clinton. They continued to be two years ago when their victory margins in the Presidential and Congressional races were nowhere near as sizable as they expected.

Given this history, Kimball would have been perfectly justified in cautioning not necessarily to believe pollsters. But his faith in his own fortunetelling skills was so flabbergasting that I burst out laughing when I read his piece over the weekend.

What he must be experiencing right now is a phrase that my college friend Rob brought to my attention: “face-plant,” meaning a case of someone falling face down or into something—a situation often found in sports, where “the thrill of victory—the agony of defeat” became a catchphrase years ago.

In the future, Kimball—and anyone else who bets on these contests—would be best advised to follow two courses of action:

*Don’t listen to partisan echo chambers on TV or Websites. Read newspapers outside from where you live. Take a look around at rallies and signs outside your immediate neighborhood.

*Don’t believe what you’re already inclined to believe. Just vote. Enough people acting like you can still make a difference.

No comments: