Precisely Pivoting Polls

Now that the general election has unofficially begun, you and I and pretty much everyone dear to us — except of course, beleaguered Kansas City Royal fans who eat BBQ at least twice a week — are about to be buried under such a blizzard of polls that we’ll be lucky to evade frostbite burns.

The two campaigns are poised to pivot like a fat kid on roller skates clutching an expiring candy store coupon — based on whatever data they receive from their intensely studied focus groups of potential voters. Because of ongoing leaps in technology and research, this time around the polling community has gravitated towards something called micro-demographics.

Small, nimble groups have replaced the old lumbering matrices of yesteryear. No longer does America have to duck while designations of Soccer Moms and NASCAR Dads are thrown our way, having become hopelessly outdated and appallingly unwieldy due to their exceptionally large sampling. These are tinier tastes, which can be more easily targeted like lasers taking out flies on Wisconsin barn roofs a mile and-a-half away.

For instance, according to 2008 exit polls, unmarried men unable to program their own DVRs were 3 percent of the electorate — a group Barack Obama won by 56 percent to 51 percent. But among tall red-headed women who wore green on purpose, he lost by a daunting 59 percent to 40 percent. Obviously, you can see the trend, one that does not seem to have abated during this election cycle.

Much has been made, and rightfully so, of President Barack Obama’s commanding lead over Mitt Romney amongst men whose elder brothers entered the military after getting remarried in June, but what must be even more distressing to the challenger is the amount of single divorcees over 50 who Dutch-dated men named Henry and never touched a bite of their entree that prefer the president over the former governor of Massachusetts.

Interestingly, the widest gap between those who view Obama favorably and those who don’t, lay in the seam populated by shoe salesmen driving 10+-year-old Chevy Impalas with rebuilt engines, a figure almost identical to the numbers reflected by Mississippi hairdressers who have taken out restraining orders against bus drivers who are predominantly bald. That these two groups share a margin of error has to be both intimidating and disheartening for the president.

As a point of curiosity, one of the few demographic groups in which Romney’s approval rating is higher than his favorability rating is among seniors living at home who have lost significantly more of their hearing than their teeth. By comparison, 66 percent of seniors in care facilities who suffer from shingles and a history of plantar fasciitis harbor diametrically opposed opinions. Pollsters are still trying to figure out what to make of that.

A seemingly insurmountable hill the president needs to climb lies amongst crotchety old Wyoming heart- transplant recipients with daughters who could bite your head off in a minute. Similar obstacles appear in the numbers of home gardeners whose corn crop has been decimated in the last five years by rootworm beetles, and left-handed tax accountants who refuse to drive in the dark. So, as you can see, it is becoming increasingly apparent which campaign has the upper hand right now. But whether or not they can keep this momentum churning is anybody’s guess.

Will Durst
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