Joshua Holland's post on Liberal | Latest updates on Sulia
Why It's Important To React To Every New Poll With Soaring Elation or Soul-Crushing Despondency
As a good liberal, my first instinct upon learning that Mitt Romney is ahead by 4 points in the latest Pew poll was, obviously, to wring my hands.
Then I realized that a 4-point margin in November probably means the Republicans taking the Senate and extending their majority in the House. I don't want to live in Mitt Romney's neo-feudal society, so I got out an exacta-knife and went to slit my wrists.
But then -- just in the knick of time! -- I saw that Romney's post-debate bounce appeared to be receding in the Gallup poll, which once again has Obama up by 5. And just like that, the clouds parted, birds began to sing and I felt like a kid who just found an adorable little puppy under the family Christmas tree.
The moral of the story: It's important to invest a great deal of weight in each new poll because that's what makes elections fun! And it's an especially valuable exercise when the data is very noisy -- like in the days following a big debate.
That's also why focusing on the polling averages -- which are less responsive to short-term shifts driven by the news cycle -- is so boring. You could go an entire election season without a single freakout, and, really, what's the point of that?