Gallup reports that American’s satisfaction with the way things are going has declined since the election. It was running around the historical average at 37% during the week before and has dropped to 27% afterward.
A sharp decline in satisfaction among Democrats explains most of the drop. Before the election, 62% of Democrats were satisfied; now, 34% are. Widespread forecasts that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton would win gave Democrats’ outlook a boost in the week before the election. The increase among Democrats from 49% in October to 62% in the days leading up to the election was more than erased after Clinton lost.
Republicans’ attitudes were much less volatile over the past two months. The satisfaction rate rose slightly from 8% in October to 14% just before the election, and then climbed a few more points to 17% after Republican Donald Trump’s victory.
Statistics are like a sewer pipe. The output is dependent on the input. Or as Nate Silver has recently discovered (H/T, TOM),
Nov. 2: For Romney to Win, State Polls Must Be Statistically Biased
Polls are susceptible to all sorts of bias caused by poor design. Sometimes the error is an honest mistake. Liberty magazine predicted that FDR would lose in 1936 based on the results of a telephone poll. Their sample was skewed because a significant percentage of voters couldn’t afford a phone. Other polls aren’t really honest but are designed to show momentum for a candidate.
The polls this year simply don’t appear to reflect the real world sentiments one hears around the office coffee pot or in the checkout line at WalMart.
I suspect that Mr. Silver’s model is a bit buggy. We will see how well it does on Tuesday. On Wednesday, I expect that I’ll be able to say:
You smell that? That charred smell? That’s Nate Silver, son. I love the smell burnt out Nate Silver in the morning. It’s the smell … of victory.