There are widely varying opinions about Steve Kornacki’s statistical analysis on MSNBC. Some find it informative. Some find it confusing. But here’s the thing: unlike the manner in which the polls are often presented on cable news, Kornacki’s analysis is accurate.
Take, for instance, The California recall race. Last week the polling averages painted the race as being roughly tied. But thanks to a late surge on the part of Gavin Newsom supporters to get the word out, the polling averages now say that Newsom is ahead by about ten points. During an on-air MSNBC segment, Kornacki spelled out precisely how the polling averages have risen to this number. He also pointed out that the polls can be wrong, particularly in an oddball race like this.
This is vastly different from how some other folks on MSNBC have presented the real race. This weekend one MSNBC pundit claimed that Newsom is now suddenly ahead by nineteen points, citing just one poll – but left out the fact that this poll was an outlier at the far end of the spectrum, and that on average the polls have Newsom up ten points.
When people hear that Newsom is up by nineteen points, they hear that he’s a lock to win, and they don’t bother to put in the work required to get him over the finish line. But when people hear Steve Kornacki accurately explain that the averages have Newsom up by a much smaller amount, they realize they need to put in the work this final week.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report