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Robert Reich is not being honest

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2/28/2016 2:32:54 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Reich recently put out a video addressing the Bernie skeptics. He starts off by refuting the "myth" that Bernie is not as electable as Clinton. His evidence? A single poll aggregate done by RealClearPolitics which shows Sanders doing better than Clinton in hypothetical match ups with various Republican candidates. Now, citing a single poll aggregate is already weak evidence enough, but it gets even worse. It turns out that the individual polls being aggregated are all over the place, and there are only four of them. One of the polls, Fox News, has Bernie ahead of Trump by 15 points, while another, USA today, has him behind by 1 point. Another one of the four polls, PPP, reaches the exact opposite conclusion as Reich: it says Clinton would do better than Sanders, with Clinton beating Trump by 7 points, and Sanders beating him by 3 points. Clearly, you can't put much stock in this aggregate at all, yet Reich expects the Bernie skeptics to just drop the argument because of this one poll. Yeah. Right.

There's also another reason to be skeptical of this poll: in a race where young people favor Sanders over Clinton by 80-20 margins, and old people favor Clinton over Sanders by roughly the same amount, making sure your sample accurately reflects the age distribution of likely voters is incredibly important. Have the polls accounted for that? Have the polls accounted for that well? Is there even a way of finding out? Until Reich can give an answer, I'm not even going to grant him this one poll, which is in any case insufficient to prove his argument.