Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Stupid poll result and a profound and funny comment by Rudy Boschwitz

I’m back, after a nice break from writing. And I hope to be back shortly with something more substantive than a stupid poll result.

But today’s ABC/Washington Post poll of registered voters indicates that if a presidential election was held now, Mitt Romney would beat President Obama by 49-45 percent. This is obviously mostly about the various Obamacare rollout issues.

It’s stupid enough to pay attention to daily horserace polls when there is actually an imminent election, but perhaps even stupider to keep polling the same matchup after the election is over.

But it gives me an excuse to bring up something funny/profound that former Sen. Rudy Boschwitz once said to me (and I’m sure he said it to many others over the years). Boschwitz, who was, of course, in the retail business, said that the weird thing about politics from a businessman’s point of view is that you have make all your sales on one day.

Ha ha. It’s actually true, of course, and especially significant considering the source.

In 1990, the longshot liberal DFLer Paul Wellstone defeated two-term incumbent Republican Boschwitz by just 50-48 percent. Members of Wellstone’s 1990 political team have told me that it’s possible Election Day was the only day all year that Wellstone was ahead in the race. But he made all of his sales on the only day that mattered.

(If that leaves you feeling nostalgiac, this link will get you the famous “fast-paced Paul” campaign ad.)

Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Joseph Schermann on 11/19/2013 - 12:24 pm.

    Good work as always Eric!

    Eric, I’m a long-time admirer of your work and have a heavily used “The Myth That Binds Us” book on our constitution as one of many pieces of evidience of that. It’ll be nice to read your work again on Minnpost.
    Joe Schermann

  2. Submitted by Tim Walker on 11/19/2013 - 01:11 pm.

    The Romney campaign finally gets a break!

    I’ll bet they are smelling victory right now!

  3. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 11/19/2013 - 03:11 pm.


    to have you back!

  4. Submitted by Steve Rose on 11/19/2013 - 05:09 pm.

    A stupid poll indeed.


    The same word, “stupid”, came to mind when I heard about this poll.

    While a President’s approval rating will rise and fall, the rating of a defeated opponent is basically static. Therefore, it is a meaningless metric, especially when the President is in his final term.

    P.S.: Welcome back.

  5. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 11/19/2013 - 07:15 pm.

    Years ago, I heard it said that if the 1968 Presidential…

    …election were held 1 day later, Humphrey would have won !!

  6. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 11/19/2013 - 09:41 pm.

    Buyer’s remorse

    I’m sure that the people at the ABC/Washington Post poll, not an organization that’s been kind to conservatives, were curious to see how this Teflon president was faring in the wake of revelations that he outright lied to the American people in order to gain support for his health insurance law and get re-elected as a result.

    And if I had to guess, I’d say that the poll was run to show that Obama was unaffected by the latest developments and that the people would hold the obviously disengaged Obama blameless for the rollout debacle. But even in a poll where democrats were over-represented, the results showed otherwise. To their credit, they published them anyway.

    Here are some of the more telling numbers:
    57% oppose Obamacare
    65% oppose the individual mandate
    71% want to delay the ACA

    But you’re right in that these poll results don’t hurt Obama personally. He’s not running for anything. But the people who this does hurt are the politicians who knowingly supported Obama’s lies, and in many cases repeated them.

    The effect of polls like this can be to affect the thinking of senate democrats who are up for re-election in red states. The question is, will they read this poll and decide to vote with senate republicans to repeal the law? And even if Obama vetoes it, will they vote with the republicans to override Obama’s veto?

  7. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 11/20/2013 - 09:17 am.

    You’re problem is

    that few people right now really understand the Affordable Care Act (they think that there’s some legislation called ‘Obamacare’).
    However, more and more people are benefiting from it, so three years from now the problems will be history, most people will like it (the same things happened with Social Security and Medicare) and Clinton will be president.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 11/26/2013 - 08:40 am.

      A Talking Point

      They think it is called obamacare because the Democratic leadership popularized the term; watch the clip from the linked Politico article below.

      “President Barack Obama and loyal Democrats once embraced the term Obamacare to sell the American people on health care reform. Not anymore.

      With the president’s approval ratings at record lows, a broken website and Obama under fire for his pledge that people could keep their plans, the “Affordable Care Act” has returned.

      Read more:

      P.S.: Clinton will not be President, and largely through no fault of her own. She will have her husband and the current President to thank.

  8. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/20/2013 - 10:42 am.

    Silly results, indeed

    The numbers in this poll depend on the historical fact of Mitt Romney having stepped largely out of the public eye for the past year. If he hadn’t–if he had been in full campaign mode–the American public would have had twelve more months to see what a colossus of unlikeability the man is.

    We also would have had twelve more months to get to know Paul Ryan. Put some lipstick on him, set him up with a few dozen malapropisms, and whom does he remind you of?

  9. Submitted by Jeffrey Peterson on 11/22/2013 - 04:29 pm.

    Stupid poll?

    So, I looked at the whole poll including the one reference to matching Obama up with Romney. The poll itself hardly strikes me as “stupid” although some may find in uncomfortable to read unflattering facts about the President’s standing particularly relating to the ACA- which is the theme of the poll, The Romney comparison is only a reference point within that context. Polls draw attention with match ups especially with prospective candidates and though some of them are fairly speculative – we have match ups on the 2016 presidential race already that are pretty thin with everything that could happen between now and then.
    Maybe what might be stupid would be to assume that Romney could have led or managed the executive branch more ineptly than the incumbent.

Leave a Reply