Rolling forward to interviews conducted Thursday through Sunday, the ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll shows the same results as its previous estimate of 47 percent for Hillary Clinton and 43 percent for Donald Trump, with Gary Johnson still at 4 percent and Jill Stein now at 1 percent.I'm reading that today after this brand new article from ABC News, "Trump to Enter Office as Most Unpopular President for at Least 40 Years, Poll Finds":
Donald Trump enters office as the most unpopular of at least the last seven newly elected presidents, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds, with ratings for handling the transition that are also vastly below those of his predecessors.While you're busy talking about who's the most unpopular President, can you spare a few moments to tell us which news organization has the least accurate polling?
With election polls, you are put to the test and capable of embarrassment in the end, and even so, you're not too reliable. In this current popularity poll, no one can ever show you up. There's no ultimate accounting when the people reveal how much they like or don't like Donald Trump. You can say whatever you want in the form of numbers that are called a poll, but we know that you want to cripple the Trump presidency before it even begins. I consider the poll fake news.
And I realize that from your perspective I am one of those terrible people who have "come unmoored from a shared set of core facts." I'm not hearing the call to adhere to the "knowable, hard, empirical truth." But I can't accept ABC News/Washington Post poll numbers as facts. It's a fact that ABC News/Washington Post got the election polls wrong. I don't want be moored to false facts. It's better to be unmoored. I don't want to believe in a truth beyond the real limits of truth.
I have heard Barack Obama say:
But without some common baseline of facts, without a willingness to admit new information and concede that your opponent might be making a fair point, and that science and reason matter, then we’re going to keep talking past each other.That's a tricky sentence. If you drift along with it, you might find it blandly pleasant in a can't-we-all-get-along kind of way. But it's actually radically specious! I've written about this sentence before, when I live-blogged Obama's Farewell Address:
Obama resorts to what's been a stock argument with Democrats since the election: We need a "common baseline of facts." That always sounds to me like longing for a time when liberal mainstream media filtered the facts. That's over. What are you going to do about it? The facts are open to debate now, and many voices can be heard. If you really love democracy, why aren't you thrilled?Looking at this sentence again this morning, I am irritated by its trickiness. The middle part is fine. I like "a willingness to admit new information and concede that your opponent might be making a fair point" — let's keep learning and let's keep talking — and I agree that "science and reason matter" — let's research and study and think. I love progress in human knowledge and understanding. But why does that fine middle section belong enclosed within the statement: "But without some common baseline of facts... we’re going to keep talking past each other." That says we can't have a real interchange with each other unless we already agree. It's a complete rejection of the idea that people with different understandings of the world can have a good-faith debate and an opportunity to persuade each other or to see the flaws and gaps in their own knowledge and the need for more research and analysis. Why must conversation begin with a common baseline of facts?
It's an ugly, false statement with a big glob of sweetener plopped into it!
ADDED: The ABC/Washington Post poll oversamples: 31% Democrats and 23% Republicans.