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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Why does anyone care what pundits predict about an election?

Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden
Bernie Sanders, left, was initially predicted by pundits to win big on Super Tuesday. Joe Biden, right, actually walked away the front-runner.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: Jon Wiener writes that pundits’ predictions are often wrong, but he does not say why.

They get it wrong for two simple reasons. First, they live in a bubble. They look around at all the young college graduates who surround them and think that this is the world.

Second, they are blissfully untethered from real life. How many have actually run anything — a country, a city, a company or a business? How many have faced the loss of everything they’ve lived for and fought back, working 20 hours a day to do it? How many are homeless because they cannot afford rent even though they work two minimum-wage jobs and see their kids only a few times a week?

Speaking for me alone, I really appreciate fact-based journalism that provides the information for me to form an opinion. I don’t care what the pundits think.

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Rett Lemoult, Laguna Niguel

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To the editor: I have a quick observation in addition to Wiener’s helpful piece on Big Data and political polling: Any poll can only provide a snapshot of a particular moment in time.

Surveying voters, consumers or any group for any purpose is a little like taking a picture of a school of fish or a flock of birds. They may be moving in one general direction, but the overall shape of the group constantly changes.

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It’s possible for a poll to be dead accurate the day before an election and dead wrong the day of an election. Even in highly partisan times, a large part of the electorate remains difficult to pin down.

Craig Curtis, Altadena

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To the editor: Wiener’s article about the difficulties of political forecasting reminded me of the saying, “It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.”

Richard Jackson, Arroyo Grande


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