Thursday, November 21, 2019

UPDATED: Support For Impeachment Flips, Especially Marked Among Independents

Those are the findings of the latest Emerson Poll. Emerson College Polling shows up fairly well in the FiveThirtyEight analysis, so FWIW. Anyway, the findings are somewhat notable and tend to support the Marquette Law School polling in Wisconsin which showed support for Trump surging. The Emerson poll was national, conducted November 17-20. Here are the main findings for our purposes (read it all here):

A new Emerson poll finds  
  • President Trump’s approval has increased in the last month with 48% approval and 47% disapproval, a bounce from 43% approval in the last Emerson National poll in October. 
  • Support for impeachment has flipped since October from 48% support with 44% opposing to now 45% opposed and 43% in support. 
  • The biggest swing is among Independents, who oppose impeachment now 49% to 34%, which is a reversal from October where they supported impeachment 48% to 39%. 
The impeachment hearings are being watched or followed by 69% of voters.  
  • A plurality (26%) is getting their information from Fox News, 
  • 24% are getting their information from 1 of the 3 network stations (ABC, NBC, CBS), 
  • 16% are watching CNN, 
  • 15% MSNBC and 
  • 19% are going somewhere else for their information.

After months of attempts to gin up impeachment fever, could there reasonably be any worse results for Dems, given the usual divide in the country? We know each major party gets about 40% support, so to see a complete flip to rejection among Independents is pretty stunning.

Also interesting to see such a large percentage, 19%, "going somewhere else for their information."

UPDATE: Michael Barone has a nice piece at AEI--The Democrats’ impeachment pseudo-event--that fits right in with these polling results--Barone himself is rather an expert on polling, so he understands what's up. He also starts it out by explaining--via Daniel Boorstin--what Impeachment "Theater" is:

"The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events" is the title of a 1960s book by historian and Librarian of Congress Daniel Boorstin. Pseudo-events, he wrote, are staged solely to generate news media coverage. Real events, in contrast, involve independent actors and have unpredictable outcomes. 
It’s not difficult to say which category the House Democrats’ impeachment hearings belongs in. It’s a classic pseudo-event stage-managed to prod sympathetic media into running predictable stories. Inconvenient questions from Republican members are blocked. Even the name of the original “whistleblower” is concealed, though no law requires that, and the stage managers know who he is. ... 
... Real events have uncertain and possibly momentous outcomes. 
Not so for the impeachment hearings. Witnesses are heard complaining that Trump subverted the “formal interagency policy process” and that he pressured — “bribed” is the focus-group-determined but inapt verb that Democrats are now using — Ukraine’s government for political gain. But Ukraine is not a formal U.S. ally, and Obama refused to provide it even defensive weapons when Russia seized its territory in Donbass and Crimea. Now we’re told that Trump should be ousted from office for a two-month delay in delivering those weapons. 
“The executive power,” Article II of the Constitution states, “shall be vested in a president of the United States of America.” That president, as the career diplomats testifying have acknowledged, has no obligation to follow “interagency” processes or consensus. It’s hard to avoid concluding that Democrats who detest Trump seized on this weak pretext for impeachment when and because the charges of Russian collusion they brandished for three years turned out to be baseless. 
Polls show support for impeachment declining. Americans, it turns out, don’t have to read Boorstin to recognize a pseudo-event when they see one.


  1. With headlines like these, it can only get worse for the Dems:


  2. No disrespect meant to Michael Barone, who has forgotten more about voting patterns and demographics in 435 congressional districts than I'll ever know, but--polling has become a pseudo-event. The sole purpose of polling today is as a news-hook--something to wrap a story around. And the whole reason to report a story in the media is to further The Narrative.

    All one needs is a recent example, e.g., the story/study on child detentions--used to beat up on Trump--gets retracted because it used data from the Obama administration in 2015.

    Opinion polling, the questions asked, the assumptions made (so as to weight the findings based on a preferred demographic profile), and etc., all serve to void the statistical power of true randomness (defeating the purpose of random sampling techniques) because the pollsters are competent at garbage-in, garbage-out spreadsheet manipulation.

    1. May be, Forbes, but the internals (in this case, about news sources) may be still worth something.

      Where Mark bolded the 19% saying "somewhere else", I presume that this was taken by respondents to include PBS/NPR.
      This "somewhere else" data would've been much more useful, if PBS/NPR had been lumped in with the Big Three, or had been made a separate category.

    2. My point is, taking your example, that you cannot tell whether the sample polled is truly random due to all the obstacles preventing randomness, i.e. how do you make contact with people so as to result in a representative sample of the population.

      E.g. "The data was weighted based on 2016 voter model of age, mode, party registration, ethnicity, and region." [From the press release linked above.]

      This manipulation destroys the power of random sampling as it "assumes" 2016 characteristics as constant proportion responses. There's absolutely no way to test this assumption. What it does accomplish is the ability to perform polling with sample sizes of approximately 1,000--keeping their costs down, at the expense of any semblance of accuracy.

      Also: "Data was collected using both an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines only (n=713) and an online panel provided by Amazon Turk (n=379)."

      They captured people with time & interest to respond to a computerized telephone survey, or were motivated to participate in an on-line (Turk) survey. These are self-selected audiences. The public at-large is exhausted by near-continuous polling--just ask your friends if they participate.

      The power of statistical sampling techniques are destroyed by these manipulations as true randomness doesn't exist in the adjusted samples.

  3. This train-wreck is presented to you, this morning, by my hero, Devin frickin' Nunes:

    They got caught trying to obtain nude photos of President Trump from Russian pranksters pretending to be Ukrainians.
    And they got caught covering up for Alexandria Chalupa, a Democratic National Committee operative who colluded with Ukrainian officials to smear the Trump campaign, by improperly redacting her name from deposition transcripts and refusing to let Americans hear her testimony as a witness in these proceedings.

    That is the Democrats' pitiful legacy in recent years.
    They got caught.

    Meanwhile their supposed star witness testified that he was guessing that President Trump was tying Ukrainian aid to investigations despite no one telling him that was true, and the President himself explicitly telling him the opposite, that he wanted nothing from Ukraine.
    Ladies and gentlemen, unless the Democrats once again scramble their kangaroo court rules, today's hearing marks the merciful end of the spectacle in the impeachment committee formerly known as the Intelligence Committee.

    1. Here's the part that's so baffling. You've got guys like Ron Johnson who seem to mean well but can't understand why Trump isn't totally thrilled with Ukraine.

    2. Today I participated in a manager's meeting discussing HR stuff. The recurring theme was how different people perceive the same events differently. Sometimes people carry baggage that distracts them from the scenery. My job, and Trump's, and all of us, is to continue to point out the scenery until people say - oh yeah, I see what you mean.

    3. Trump is very very good at that.