Ladies and gentlemen, “the fix really has been in,” in Florida. The polls over the last six days have been so unreliably diverse and skewed as to make it impossible to sort out, but this much is clear: They used last week’s Drudge extravaganza combined with ceaseless reporting of a Romney double-digit lead to build an impression that Gingrich will lose big, but as I warned you, don’t be surprised if this race is well within the margin of error of the best polls available, which actually isn’t saying much this week. The NYTimes, hardly a conservative publication, takes the time to point out how the polls are all over the place. This kind of thing isn’t normal, and it’s not predictive either. While these polls all seem to indicate a Romney victory, from the smallest margins to something in the twenty percent range, what all of this tells you is that it’s going to be a good bit more volatile than expected, and it may tell us something else: There’s still a chance.
If Gingrich can get good turn-out and support from the Tea Party, he has a very good chance of pulling this out, but the point of all this polling is to depress turn-out. If this ploy works, and it frequently does, what can happen is that voters, hearing, reading or watching the news will simply shrug and figure they can’t win, and simply not bother. This is one of the reasons I’m against early voting, because what can happen is that people may change their mind having made their selection, so they’re locked in. My own state has early voting, and if it were up to me, we’d get rid of it, and make election day what it is supposed to be. I think if you can’t be bothered to go vote on election day, we didn’t need your vote anyway. I want people motivated enough to take time away from work, or whatever else they may do, and make their way to the polling places like we had done for two hundred years. Nevertheless, the laws are what they are, and there’s no point in arguing the matter at this juncture. Just be advised that early voting was created to give the terminally lazy one more inducement to vote.
(Note: I am not suggesting that every person who has availed themselves of early voting is lazy, because not everyone who avails themselves had a poor record of voting previously. I am aiming my remarks specifically at those who can only be troubled to register and vote when it’s made falling-off-a-log easy.)
Tuesday morning will tell the tale. I think strong turn-out actually favors Gingrich. If all of these wacky polls have merely concealed a late surge, Tuesday may even yield a surprise. Those who like surprises may wish to wait this one out. If it’s substantially closer than the median of current polls tell us, here’s what you can gather: This entire thing has been a propaganda job. On this basis alone, none should sit this out. Tuesday doesn’t decide anything, but it will provide us a glimpse into how effective the establishment has been in driving the vote their own direction.
As of this writing, my poll from yesterday is clearly skewed toward Gingrich, but if the responses are reliable, 14% or so were Floridians.