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March 12th, 2012
09:55 PM ET

Letters to the President #1148: 'The latest polls'

Reporter's Note: I write to the president with the fervor of a monk illuminating a scroll. In return, he ignores my letters with the stubborn consistency of a stone statue. Oh well.

Dear Mr. President,

Uh oh. Looks like the polls are swinging a bit against you again. Seems like just a couple of weeks ago Democrats were crowing about how you were up in the numbers, and now it seems as if you might be vulnerable to your Republican challenger this fall.

You know what I say? This is way too early for anyone to worry or celebrate over what is going to happen in November.

Seriously, can you imagine how many different forces will come to bear on this race before the summer is gone? In just the past few weeks we’ve seen gas prices rise enough to make people gasp, fresh troubles in Afghanistan, more turmoil out of Europe, and very mixed messages about the jobs situation. Between now and election day we could have any number of unexpected scandals, natural disasters, unnatural disasters, social upheavals, and perhaps even a space alien sighting or two.

Frankly, I think polls at a time like this largely reflect that uncertainty as much as they do any actual preference for one candidate over another. Ask people to pick who is going to win the next Super Bowl right now and you’ll get the same effect; we don’t know how the season is going to shake out between now and then, so we shift capriciously from one possible, predicted winner to the next.

So like I said, I don’t think you or any of your challengers should be too terribly worked up about the polls right now, even if for all of us in the chattering class it is all we can talk about.

Hope your week is off to a nice start. I’m training for another big race (at least I think so; I am not so certain of my prospects) so I ran a nice 15 miles by the river yesterday. Lovely afternoon.

Regards,

Tom

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