Category: Mark’s Hill Column

The Iowa results?

Once again the Des Moines Register Iowa poll proved prescient—it produced no results, and neither did the Iowa caucuses. But since this column is due, with some trepidation, I’ll go with what I’ve got, which is nothing more than a wholly unadjusted entrance poll. Of course, unadjusted means they may be off. So, take everything

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First-timers and veterans in Iowa

Already six weeks ago, I lamented that watching the Iowa polls could make your head spin. If you’ve continued watching, you’re probably suffering whiplash by now. I can’t offer a definitive cure, but perhaps a teaspoon of insight might help. Here are just some of Iowa poll results that can make you dizzy. A USA

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A failure of GOP leadership

Two primary motivations typically drive legislative leaders: doing right by the country and providing political protection to their caucuses. “Moscow Mitch” McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate majority leader, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) are sacrificing both on the altar of protecting Donald Trump. Their actions will likely exact a heavy toll.  To the nation’s detriment, McConnell and

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Democrats — Buckle up for a wild ride

For a year, everyone has been repeating a familiar refrain: “It’s too early” to know how the contest for the Democratic nomination will shape up, let alone shake out. Well, Democrats start voting in three weeks, so it’s a little late to say it’s early, but this race appears tight as a tick, and lots

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Is killing Soleimani a game changer for Democrats?

I know how it happens. A major news story breaks and editors rapidly assign pieces covering every angle. Gen. Qassem Soleimani is killed. Does it mean war? What’s the effect on U.S. relations with our allies? What’s the effect on the economy and, these days, on the Democratic primary? A story saying, we have no

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Looking to Iowa

If you think the Iowa caucus results are now settled, you have been paying inadequate attention to the history of this remarkable ritual of American politics. And with Iowa unsettled, the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination is far from over, because, as regulars are no doubt sick of reading, results in the early states,

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The ‘lane theory’ is the wrong lane to be in

It’s long past time we toss the “lane theory” of primaries into the dustbin of history. Lane theory holds that candidates are essentially running to attract subsets of voters who have consistently different sets of priorities, ideological or otherwise. Until near the end of the race, claims the theory, candidates are clumped in distinct lanes,

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Ending irrational advantage in elections

Theories of voting abound, but most assume it’s a rational act. We might consider each candidate’s positions on issues and vote for the one closest to us, at least on the issues most important to us. Or perhaps we take a shortcut, deciding that most of the time one party or the other represents our

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Watergate Republicans vs. Trump Republicans

The Republicans of 1973/74 seem like a totally different breed than those we’re saddled with today. We recall them as facing the tribulations of Watergate determined to uncover the truth, whatever the consequences, and relentlessly demanding to know what the president knew and when he knew it, in the famous words of Sen. Howard Baker

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When it comes to polls, mode matters

With fewer people willing to be interviewed for surveys, pollsters fret about our samples no longer being representative. And if you don’t have a representative sample, there’s no reason to believe you’ve got an accurate poll. Pew Research found response rates plummeting from a none-too-high 36 percent in 1997, to a mere 9 percent in

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