I guess it’s important to start with the disclaimer that no one can really predict what’s going to happen. What I’m suggesting seems logical to me, but up to this point, the 2016 GOP primary has defied logic at nearly every turn.

The Polls

Over the last few election cycles the daily weekly competing goals from many organizations have become sort of the Dow Jones average for politics.

Anyone with a lick of common sense knows that the daily variance in the stock market is rarely an indicator of the long term market value. That doesn’t stop the news (and a lot of us garden variety folks) from talking about the hourly or even the minute – by – minute fluctuations as if we should base our entire lives around the numbers.

It’s the same thing with politics. There are at least a dozen examples showing that the polls taken early in the cycle have absolutely no relevance to the election results – be it the primary or the general election.

I find it very amusing to watch the political pundits speaking on this issue. They report on the numbers as taken in the very latest poll and end their report by saying that these polls don’t really mean anything for the long term.

Yet we listen to the numbers. The candidates listen to the numbers, and the candidates’ supporters listen to the numbers. When the candidate is up, they scream from the rooftops. When the candidate is down they dismiss polls as non-– indicators of anything.

can polls predict electionsThere are two critical fallacies in believing that these polls mean absolutely anything.

Fallacy #1

The early polls frequently do no more than reflect which candidate is more well known. Take the 2008 competition between Obama and Clinton.

If you are from any of the 49 states that are not Illinois, you probably had not heard of Barack Obama in the latter half of 2007. Some might remember his stirring speech at the 2004 Democratic convention, but for the most part nobody knew who he was.

After the national debates started his name recognition increased and by early 2008, the polls began to reflect the actual policy differences between the two.

Fallacy #2

This is playing out right now. The GOP is smack in the middle of it.

It has to do with math.

In September 2015 there were 18 Republican candidates that were reflected in the polls. There were 17 announced candidates and “Myth” Romney was also showing up in the results.

As of today there are 12. At least 5 of them could be viable candidates. While a few of them have extremely low poll numbers the fact is that the field is divided 12 ways.

Right now Donald Trump is ahead of his nearest competitor by at least 15 points.

The average of the top 30 polls currently puts him at around 35%.

If you live in the land of poll fantasy this clearly means he’s unstoppable and is the presumptive nominee at this point.

If you look at the math with a more comprehensive eye, you’ll understand that 65% of the Republican primary voters who have been pulled, are in favor of someone other than Donald Trump.

History tells us that if a candidate does not come in first or second place in at least one of the first three primaries, his/her supporters jump ship, which leads to the candidate dropping out of the race and here’s the good part.  The dropout candidates’ supporters will support one of those who remain.


 

Hypothetical

There are 4 candidates.  One of them has a commanding lead over the others.

Mid January Polls:

  • Candidate 1        35%
  • Candidate 2        27%
  • Candidate 3        23%
  • Candidate 4        17%

After the February Primaries. Candidate 4 drops out. His Supporters split their support between Candidate 2 and Candidate 3 equally.

Mid-February Polls:

  • Candidate 1       35%
  • Candidate 2       33%
  • Candidate 3       32%

After the March Primaries, candidate 3 drops out. His supporters split their support 3 ways equally.

Mid-March Polls:

  • Candidate 1:     51%
  • Candidate 2:     49%

So in a period of 8 weeks, the “inevitable” candidate is now in a statistical dead heat with his only competitor.


 

This same process will take place in the actual GOP primary that is occurring right now.  With a current stable of 12, the changing landscape will be even more complex and completely impossible to predict, AND YET — our pundits are making predictions every day.

The Time-line

By February 20, there will have been 103 Republican delegates chosen. This represents voters in Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina.

By bedtime on March 5th, (known as Super Tuesday) A few hundred more Republican delegates will have been chosen.

For those candidates who stuck with it even though they didn’t place in Iowa and New Hampshire nor South Carolina, March 5 will be there death knell.

Who Goes Where?

This is what really matters.

If you are hoping that Trump will fall at some point, keep in mind it will not be for the reasons that are being predicted. 

Since last summer, conventional wisdom said that Donald Trump will have a “Joe McCarthy moment.” At some point someone will effectively challenge his decency. His blind, faithful supporters will come to the conclusion that having someone in the White House with a completely unfiltered mouth will be devastating for our country.

In a few words: If it has not happened yet, it’s not going to happen at all. His rhetoric will not cause a sudden downfall.

If Mr.Trump does not get the GOP nomination it will not be his shock-jock persona that sinks him. It’s all about math (what isn’t?)

So watch carefully who the supporters of those drop out will go to.

While their individual numbers are small, ask yourself where the supporters of Huckabee, Paul, Kasich, Fiorina and Christie go. Right now they hold a combined 13 points.

Rubio, Carson and Bush are in 3rd 4th and 5th place. Together they hold 25 points.

If you want to put your brain into a “poll-er vortex”  try and calculate all the possible scenarios

My Prediction (lol)

On the morning of morning of March 2nd there will be four GOP candidates.

Trump will be in there unless he does not place first ANY of the first three primaries. He certainly would have the money to continue but his ego will not allow him to die a slow death. He will go out while his poll numbers are still high enough to brag about.

So – for those of you are chomping at the bit to see who will be the GOP nominee.  Take a chill pill!


NOTE: For those without a sense of humor,  the poll above re: whether or not polls can predict elections is made up.

 

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THE POLL-ER VORTEX

by Rick time to read: 5 min
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