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Politics & Policy

Lastest Poll Shows Ryan Desperately Clinging to Mere 66-Point Lead

Yesterday I asked what Trump gets out of his refusal to endorse Ryan, and his kind words for Ryan’s primary challenger Paul Nehlen.

Granted, this is a House primary in the middle of summer, and turnout is likely to be low. And polling a congressional district is usually a little tougher and more expensive than polling a state. But with all of those caveats noted, it looks like Tuesday will be a blowout:

Paul Ryan leads his Republican primary challenger, Paul Nehlen, by 66 points five days ahead of the election. Ryan leads with 80% to 14% for Nehlen with 6% undecided.

Paul Ryan’s image in the district mirrors the ballot. Ryan is extremely popular in his district with a favorable rating of 80% compared to an unfavorable rating of just 14%. Nehlen, on the other hand, is viewed unfavorably by 47% of likely Republican primary voters and viewed favorably by just 16%.

Assume Nehlen doubles his level of support in this poll. Will he and Trump claim that a 70-30 loss is a moral victory? reports that Ryan is “running scared”, declares his team “terrified” of defeat Tuesday and that his “policy record is collapsing among voters here under scrutiny.” No doubt the team at Breitbart sees Ryan as an unacceptable sellout, a terrible Speaker, and someone they would love to see defeated in the primary. But wanting something to happen does not make it happen. As noted elsewhere, a lot of impassioned people who want to see victories in politics have problems in grasping scale. They think a couple hundred Internet commenters indicate an uprising in a primary election that will involve, at minimum, 40,000 or so voters. (More than 42,000 people voted in Ryan’s 2014 primary; he won 94 percent against a little-known challenger.)

Similarly, think a small band of #NeverTrump holdouts will cost Trump a presidential election that will have 120 million to 130 million votes; they think a rally of 10,000 or 15,000 people in Florida is a reliable indicator of who will win a contest that will involve 8 million to 9 million votes. 

Long ago, Saul Alinsky wrote, “The moment one gets into the area of $25 million and above, let alone a billion, the listener is completely out of touch, no longer really interested, because the figures have gone above his experience and almost are meaningless. Millions of Americans do not know how many million dollars make up a billion.” Sadly, widespread innumeracy hasn’t changed.


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