Ted Cruz Unskews the Polls

The Texas Republican rolls out his own poll and tells the GOP to ignore all the rest.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, greets a young boy during a prayer vigil organized by the Christian Defense Coalition outside the White House last month.
National Journal
Alex Seitz Wald
See more stories about...
Alex Seitz-Wald
Oct. 9, 2013, 2:18 p.m.

Don’t worry, Ted Cruz is telling his fel­low Re­pub­lic­ans, about that new Gal­lup Poll show­ing that the GOP’s fa­vor­ab­il­ity rat­ing has sunk to an all-time low. And ig­nore the Na­tion­al Journ­alWash­ing­ton PostCBS NewsAPCNN, and Pew sur­veys show­ing that Amer­ic­ans are mostly blam­ing Re­pub­lic­ans for the gov­ern­ment shut­down.

Those are all wrong, the Texas sen­at­or is telling his GOP col­leagues, be­cause he has his own poll, and it shows the GOP is win­ning.

As Dav­id Druck­er re­ports at The Wash­ing­ton Ex­am­iner, Cruz ar­gued to Re­pub­lic­ans at a closed-door lunch on Wed­nes­day that the cam­paign he led to shut­down the gov­ern­ment over Obama­care has bolstered the GOP’s polit­ic­al po­s­i­tion, rather than hurt it. Cruz says he knows this be­cause he paid for his own poll, con­duc­ted by his own par­tis­an poll­ster, who was on hand to ex­plain the res­ults to his skep­tic­al col­leagues.

Des­pite all that, the poll was not much ro­si­er than all pub­lic polls, show­ing that the pub­lic blames Re­pub­lic­ans for the shut­down by a 7 point mar­gin.

To Cruz, as Druck­er writes, this shows that “Re­pub­lic­ans are in a much bet­ter po­s­i­tion than they were dur­ing the 1995 shut­down be­cause this im­passe is defined by a dis­agree­ment over fund­ing for the Af­ford­able Care Act as op­posed to a gen­er­al dis­agree­ment over gov­ern­ment spend­ing.”

Maybe Cruz is right, and maybe Re­pub­lic­ans are “win­ning,” and maybe his poll­ster is bet­ter than every­one else’s. Maybe.  

But if not, then he’s fall­ing vic­tim to same fal­lacy Re­pub­lic­ans ran in­to lead­ing up the 2012 elec­tion, when Mitt Rom­ney was re­portedly so con­vinced that he was go­ing to win that he didn’t even both­er writ­ing a con­ces­sion speech. The na­tion­al pub­lic opin­ion data was pretty clearly show­ing the op­pos­ite, but some on the right stuck to the echo cham­ber, where the polls were un­skewed and the vibes were good, lead­ing to Dick Mor­ris pre­dict­ing as late as 8 p.m. on elec­tion night that Rom­ney would still win big, and later to an on-screen melt­down from Karl Rove when Rom­ney lost Ohio.

The fancy word for this is “epi­stem­ic clos­ure,” but ba­sic­ally it means only be­liev­ing what you want to be­lieve and ig­nor­ing the rest. That may be why Cruz thought that Barack Obama would ever agree to de­fund his sig­na­ture le­gis­lat­ive ac­com­plish­ment. Or think­ing, as a large num­ber of Re­pub­lic­an law­makers seem to, that fail­ing to raise the debt ceil­ing would be no big deal.

But un­like the elec­tion, if Cruz is wrong and breach­ing the debt ceil­ing is as cata­stroph­ic as most eco­nom­ists are pre­dict­ing, this time the whole coun­try loses.

What We're Following See More »
SHARES THEIR LOVE STORY
Bill Clinton Gets Personal in Convention Speech
8 hours ago
THE DETAILS

“In the spring of 1971, I met a girl,” started Bill Clinton. In his speech Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention, Clinton brought a personal touch, telling parallel stories of his relationship with Hillary Clinton and the work she has done throughout her career. He lauded the Democratic nominee for her career of work, touching on her earliest days of advocacy for children and those with disabilities while in law school, her role as Secretary of State, and her work in raising their daughter, Chelsea. Providing a number of anecdotes throughout the speech, Clinton built to a crescendo, imploring the audience to support his wife for president. "You should elect her, she'll never quit when the going gets tough," he said. "Your children and grandchildren will be grateful."

LOUD “BLACK LIVES MATTER” CHANTS RING OUT
Mothers Of The Movement Endorse Hillary Clinton
11 hours ago
THE DETAILS

A coalition of mothers whose children lost their lives in high profile cases across the country, known as the Mothers Of The Movement, were greeted with deafening chants of "Black Lives Matter" before telling their stories. The mothers of Sandra Bland, Jordan Davis, and Trayvon Martin spoke for the group, soliciting both tears and applause from the crowd. "Hillary Clinton has the compassion and understanding to comfort a grieving mother," said Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin. "And that's why, in the memory of our children, we are imploring you — all of you — to vote this election day."

SOUTH DAKOTA GIVES HER CLINCHING DELEGATES
Clinton Officially Democratic Nominee for President
13 hours ago
THE DETAILS

With the South Dakota delegation announcing its delegate count, Hillary Rodham Clinton is officially the Democratic nominee for president, surpassing the 2383 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. Clinton is expected to speak at the convention on Thursday night and officially accept the nomination.

THE QUESTION
How Many People Protested in Philly Yesterday?
17 hours ago
THE ANSWER

About 5,500, according to official estimates. "The Monday figures marked a large increase from the protests at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where even the largest protests only drew a couple of hundred demonstrators. But it’s a far cry from the 35,000 to 50,000 that Philadelphia city officials initially expected."

Source:
NO BATTLEGROUND STATES LEAN TRUMP
NY Times’ Upshot Gives Clinton 68% Chance to Win
17 hours ago
THE LATEST

Only a day after FiveThirtyEight's Now Cast gave Donald Trump a 57% chance of winning, the New York Times' Upshot fires back with its own analysis that shows Hillary Clinton with a 68% chance to be the next president. Its model "calculates win probabilities for each state," which incorporate recent polls plus "a state's past election results and national polling." Notably, all of the battleground states that "vote like the country as a whole" either lean toward Clinton or are toss-ups. None lean toward Trump.

Source:
×