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Saying the quiet part out loud (Updated)

Friday, Jul 12, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Andy Shaw

Covering politics for three decades left me with a lifetime of takeaways, but a compelling one that resurfaces more often than most, as we try to explain widespread public perceptions of politicians, is the importance of narrative.

It’s an overarching media-and-consultant-driven storyline that, for better or worse, defines, describes and tends to stick to candidates and elected officials like glue until the passage of time or a figurative solvent — an unanticipated major event — pries it loose.

Emphasis added.

* Meanwhile, I’m not at all saying that President Biden is not in political trouble and that he’s not weighing down his fellow Democrats. He’s obviously in trouble and people are most definitely freaking the heck out. All I’m saying is hyping a partisan congressional district poll of just 309 likely voters taken 9-10 days ago and calling it “new” doesn’t really add much to the debate, but does feed into the national news media/consultant narrative

A NEW POLL in the IL-11 District suggests the Biden crisis is having an impact. The survey conducted by Republican challenger Jerry Evans’ campaign against incumbent Congressman Bill Foster shows Biden at 38 percent to Trump’s 37 percent. In 2020, Biden won the district 62 percent to 36 percent. The poll also shows a close race for Congress, with a generic Democrat leading a generic Republican by 3 points, 45 percent to 42 percent with 13 percent undecided.

In a head-to-head, Foster beats Evans 41 percent to 34 percent but with 35 percent undecided. The Cygnal survey was conducted July 2 and 3, five days after the Biden-Trump debate. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.55 percentage points.

…Adding… The 11th is no longer the overwhelmingly Democratic district it was in 2020. When you look at the district’s current precincts, Biden won in 2020 by 15 points - which is 11 points less than he won the old district. Also, while JB Pritzker won the district in 2022 by about 13 points, he only won it by 2.5 points in 2018. Foster won the new district in 2022 by 13 points. I should’ve checked those numbers in the quoted story above, but made the mistake of relying on what was written.

Methodology

This probabilistic survey was conducted July 2 – 3, 2024, with 309 likely general election voters. It has a margin of error of ±5.55%. Known registered voters were interviewed via online panel and SMS. This survey was weighted to a likely general election voter universe.

* Also, reputable polls in battleground states haven’t yet shown a dramatic impact on down-ballot races. And then there’s this from yesterday

(A)ny post-debate analysis using polling to justify sweeping conclusions about the state of the race is way out ahead of the data. This soon after the debate, with relatively few polls having come home to roost, there are early indications that Biden has lost at least a point or two in the polls, but the early indications are just that — early indications. (This is why, as G. Elliott Morris explains here, 538’s forecast hasn’t changed much post-debate.)

Deep breaths, please.

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