Category: Mark’s Hill Column

Two worlds — Online and off

Social listening — monitoring social media for comments, in this case, about your candidate and opponent — is one of the new techniques making its way into political campaigns and lots of screws are being pounded into lots of boards as folks learn how to use the tool.  Such analyses can be quite useful in

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Are Democrats losing or winning?

Two months ago, we were deluged with seemingly dismal news for Democrats. Newsweek’s headline asked, “Are Democrats Losing Their 2018 Midterm Advantage?” If the question itself left anyone in doubt, the headline went on to offer an answer: “A New Poll Says Yes.” CNN claimed “Democrats’ 2018 advantage is nearly gone,” while Slate inquired “Are Democrats losing the

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(Mis)interpreting elections

From our first appearance on earth, human beings have searched for meaning. We naturally incline toward interpreting events and ascribing significance to them. A grizzled journalist of an earlier generation brought home to me the practical implications of this never-ending search. After one particularly dull and sparsely attended debate prior to the 1988 Iowa caucuses

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What’s wanted in a Supreme Court justice

What do Americans want from the next Supreme Court justice? First and foremost, they want a consensus nominee. By creating the possibility of a purely partisan pick, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) did great violence to our political process that will reverberate for decades. Eliminating the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees enables a bare and temporary

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Red Hens, babies & the great unraveling

At the risk of alienating friends, I want to delve, not too deeply, into the now infamous incident at the Red Hen of Lexington, Va. (not to be confused with the unrelated Red Hen of Washington, D.C.). I’m no foodie, a fact apparently underlined by my complete ignorance of both establishments. But my interest here

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Trump can fix it

If we didn’t know it from the public outpouring of anger and criticism by leaders across the political spectrum, we now know it from the polls: Americans overwhelmingly oppose President Trump’s policy of forcibly separating children from their parents at the border. A Quinnipiac University poll conducted June 14-17, found Americans opposed the separation by nearly

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Truth, significance and probability in polling

Margin of error is simultaneously the most under,- and most over-used concept in polling, in part because so many people don’t really understand it. A Democratic gubernatorial primary survey in Maryland provides an opportunity to re-engage with these issues. (My own client in this race, the wonderful Kevin Kamenetz, sadly and suddenly died last month, so

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Public crimes

President Trump seems to believe that only crimes committed in secret are really crimes. He “could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody”—that’s in public. By contrast, the crime he keeps denying — “collusion” — invokes secrecy in its very definition. Publicly asking Russia to steal and release Hillary Clinton’s emails isn’t secret, so

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Whither the economy

Last week, I argued here that voters’ evaluations of economic “realities” are heavily conditioned by their partisan identities. When asked about the economy, many use their response as an opportunity for partisan cheerleading rather than for “objective” reporting. However, the polls seem to be telling us quite different things about the economy. To take just

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Economic realities and partisan feelings

I’ve noted many times that partisanship is a powerful drug. But you would think people would be able to shake off their partisan stupor long enough to report accurately on an objective reality in which they live each day — the economy. Many can’t. Recent Pew polling found more a nearly 40-point gap between Democrats

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