Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Gallup Poll Asks Voters The Wrong Question About Divided Government (again) and Arrives at a Wrong Conclusion About Voter Attitudes Toward Divided Government (again)

2020 Gallup Poll on divided government
Graphic Credit: Gallup
This is becoming an election year tradition at The Dividist Papers. Every year Gallup publishes this poll and every election cycle the Dividist explains why there is far less than meets the eye in any conclusion based on this poll. The latest iteration is the absurd headline/conclusion in the 2020 edition of this Gallup Poll - "New High Favors One-Party Control of U.S. Federal Government":
41% of Americans favor unified control of federal government
23% want divided control
52% of Republicans, 43% of Democrats favor one-party control"
"WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A new high of 41% of U.S. adults say it is better to have a president and Congress from the same political party. Twenty-three percent would rather have one party control the presidency and the other control Congress, while 32% say it makes no difference to them."
Here is the problem. Since there is no realistic possibility of the GOP establishing unified one-party control of the government this cycle, the only realistic choice in 2020 is between divided government and unified Democratic one-party control of the government.

The Dividist is sympathetic to their plight. Gallup's intent is to use the same poll question year after year in order to divine trends over many election cycles. To do that, they obviously must ask the identical question every time. The problem is that the question they've asked every year since 2002 is deeply flawed as it has absolutely nothing to do with the actual choice facing American voters when they go to the polls.

As explained in the last election cycle (paraphrased):