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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Clinton Leads Polls in New York: Does It Matter?

According to data from Real Clear Politics, Hillary Clinton is leading in every single poll heading into today's New York primary.

Additionally, the Princeton Election Consortium is claiming there is only a 5% chance that Bernie Sanders will amass more delegates than Clinton from the voters by June.

So, what does it mean, a 5% chance?  Is this a figure handed down from the sky?  Was it arrived at by a supercomputer?  Did God himself tell the Consortium that this is Gospel?

Humor aside, it is an important question philosophically, as to how we arrive at these kinds of numbers.

For human behavior cannot be reduced to numbers. We all know this, and yet the desire for certainty leads us to crave an absolute "scientific" number.

What if there had been modern polling leading into the election of 1800?  "There is about an even chance that Thomas Jefferson will send John Adams back to Massachusetts if the fates allow."  What?!

At this point in history here is what our political analysis has come down to, it seems:  numbers and probabilities -- all surrounded by a cacophony of "talking heads" of every conceivable ilk.

We Americans are so much more than this, or should be.

Latest Clinton Polling Data

Graphic credit:  Wikipedia.  Talking Heads, rock band album cover, 1980

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