Beware of polls in Alabama

A word of caution may be in order.

Public opinion polling indicates that Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore is falling farther behind his Democratic opponent, former federal prosecutor Doug Jones, in the race to join the World Greatest Deliberative Body.

A special election will occur in ‘Bama on Dec. 12. Moore has been swallowed up by a controversy involving whether he made improper sexual advances on young girls in the 1970s when he was a state prosecutor.

It’s been in all the papers, you know?

Be careful — very careful — about interpreting too much in these polls. You see, they at times can produce what political scientists call “phantom support” that manifests itself in voters being untruthful to pollsters.

Voters might be unwilling to say out loud to a pollster that they’re going to still vote for a guy who’s accused of pedophilia. Then they vote for the guy anyway. Indeed, this is why we call it a “secret ballot.” The fear is profoundly ridiculous, given that reputable polling firms do not reveal the identities of those they question about their voting preferences.

It’s all water over the proverbial dam anyway. Even if Moore manages to win the special election, I find it impossible for him to serve in the Senate. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — against whom Moore has declared political war — likely will not allow him to take the oath and then tar the Republican Party with his very presence on Capitol Hill.

I’m just saying that as the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States has shown us, the new normal in American politics has proven to be anything but normal.

Read more posts from High Plains Blogger here.


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