"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free." - President Ronald Reagan
On Tuesday evening, I anticipated a Youngkin victory in Virginia. Like most of you, I did not really pay attention to New Jersey. Maybe I was reading too many stories and polls about New Jersey staying blue again. Then the reds surprised us, and the blues were looking for late-night boxes full of ballots.
So what happened in New Jersey? Maybe the pollsters don't have a clue after all. Maybe they are just desperately dialing and hoping somebody talks to them. Or maybe they are talking to too many adults or so-called registered voters, who often don't really vote. Or maybe too many Republicans are not taking their calls and completely messing up their samples.
I don't know the answer, but one pollster decided to come clean. I am talking about Patrick Murray of the Monmouth Poll. This is what he wrote:
I blew it. The final Monmouth University Poll margin did not provide an accurate picture of the state of the governor's race. So, if you are a Republican who believes the polls cost Ciattarelli an upset victory or a Democrat who feels we lulled your base into complacency, feel free to vent. I hear you.
I owe an apology to Jack Ciattarelli's campaign — and to Phil Murphy's campaign for that matter — because inaccurate public polling can have an impact on fundraising and voter mobilization efforts. But most of all I owe an apology to the voters of New Jersey for information that was at the very least misleading.
OK, Patrick. Thank you for accepting responsibility. Maybe your colleague who said Biden would win Wisconsin by 10 points should do the same. Maybe your colleague down in Texas who printed on the Friday before the election that Biden would win the Lone Star state by 1 should resign for incompetence.
My take is that people just don't trust pollsters. They are not comfortable telling strangers on the phone about their political choices. Maybe they don't want a gang showing up at their door calling them a racist because their "choice" was leaked to the other side.
Last, but not least, too many journalists are just living by polls. They sit in front of the computers and write articles based on polls. Some talk to voters, like Selena Zito, but most don't.
You can't outlaw polls, but we can stop paying attention to them. I hope New Jersey teaches everyone that important lesson. In other words, read the polls, but remember that no expert last spring predicted that the Braves would win the World Series.
We say happy birthday to Joni Mitchell, one of the great female pop singers and songwriters of the 1970's. She was born in Canada on this day in 1943. Joni wrote songs like "Both sides now", a hit for Judy Collins, and "Woodstock" by Matthew Southern Comfort. She had her own hits, like "Help me".
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