Unlikely Voter

Conservative views on polls, science, technology, and policy

Let’s not poll the general election before anyone campaigns

People love general election matchup polling. For some it’s the ultimate way to decide which candidate is the best choice to win a primary. But even if that’s true, it is possible to run such polls too soon.

Right now, it’s too soon to poll the 2016 Presidential race.

Leaving aside the obvious remarks about how Hillary Clinton was inevitable last time, too, Quinnipiac’s poll of Ohio 2016 shows it’s just too soon to start polling Republicans against her.

Right now she could hardly be riding higher with Democrats. Her results are consistent across the board, with a net 86-91% support level, easily within what we’d expect with the poll’s Margin of Error of 2.7. All Republicans polled but one fall within a range of 65-70 net support among Republicans. The one who did better? Paul Ryan at 77, the one man who’s been on a national ticket before.

Here’s a chart showing just how boring these results are for Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Chris Christie.


The Paul Ryan bump shows that it does matter to have been introduced to a national audience before. We can also see it in the questions asking whether these candidates would make good Presidents. 40% of Republicans don’t know if Ted Cruz would make good President, for example. Contrast with 3% of Democrats having no answer for Hillary Clinton, and 13% of Democrats not knowing about Joe Biden.

Until the Republican field introduces itself, there’s no point in even polling these races. It’s even more pointless than polling Hillary Clinton against a Generic Republican.


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