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A poll is out, and it tells us why Chris Cillizza says that Gary Peters is a slight underdog

by: Eric B.

Wed May 28, 2014 at 08:56:12 AM EDT


A few months ago, Nate Silver said that based on the lay of the land at the time, there was a 60 percent chance that Republicans would take over the Senate. Then everyone got into the game of making predictions, although some were a lot more funny than others. Take, for instance, The Fix at the Washington Post, run by Chris Cillizza. Soon after Silver's projection, The Fix predicted said the GOP had something like an 82 percent chance of winning the Senate. A week or so ago, they redid their forecast and said chances had dropped to 77 percent.

Part of that was based on the Senate race in Michigan, which The Fix lists as "Leaning Republican" or whatever The Fix's equivalent is for it. Actually, they listed Gary Peters as being a "slight underdog." Why? No one says, but this probably explains it.

Detroit Democrat Peters has been in a see-saw Senate race with former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, a Republican from the Grand Rapids area. In February, our survey of 600 likely Michigan voters had Land in front by 3 points. But our latest numbers have Peters ahead 44 percent to 38 percent, a gain of 6 points. Eighteen percent are undecided about which candidate should replace retiring Michigan Senator Carl Levin.

It's not really see-saw if the person who used to be ahead in the polls is now behind in the polls. That's actually just the lead changing hands, such that a lead can change hands right now when polls are mostly meaningless. But you can see why he'd be rated a "slight underdog." The person most likely to win a race is the person most consistently and recently behind in the polling.

And with this, we start to get a clearer idea of how the media was so easily buffaloed into thinking that Willard Romney had a shot at the Oval Office.

Coverage of the poll, and it shows our benevolent overlord still ahead and Michigan's finest legal mind in trouble (for some reason, WXYZ thinks that a floor fight over the Democratic AG nomination might hurt the eventual winner, even though that's supposed to be the conventional wisdom as applied to primaries and is mostly wrong conventional wisdom, anyway), does hit on a key development: The Americans for Prosperity ads run on behalf of Terri Lynn Land -- the ones that lied and prompted AFP to use a cancer patient as a human shield -- didn't help Terri Lynn Land at all and the Peters campaign ads linking her to AFP helped him. Also, the ad where she sits, says nothing, and drinks coffee for some reason have mostly failed to win her female voters. The fact, however, that her campaign thought that women would naturally vote for another woman without thinking things through is pretty revealing in what little regard they have for voters.

Eric B. :: A poll is out, and it tells us why Chris Cillizza says that Gary Peters is a slight underdog
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