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February 7, 2016

Sunday Roundup

This week the nation's attention swung from Iowa to New Hampshire. But even though votes have now actually been cast, the media's attention stayed focused on the polls. Even though the overblown oracles missed the mark in Iowa, the pundit class breathlessly pivoted, without even an iota of self-reflection, to touting the newest polls in New Hampshire. We've allowed polls to establish the baseline of our political debate, making everything about expectations. And this despite the fact that the polls' ability to forecast elections is clearly waning, as more and more people refuse to respond. How about in addition to publishing sample size, the dates the poll was taken, etc., they also publish response rates? There are plenty of problems in our political process, but one is the gap between the importance we assign to polls and how little scrutiny we give them. We could fix it, but first, breaking news about a new South Carolina poll!

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