The upcoming midterm elections on Nov. 8 are important. The outcome will determine control of the U.S. Senate, the House of Representatives and leadership and control of state government. In our deeply divided and hyper-partisan political environment, the stakes couldn’t be higher. So, if you care about who is going to represent your interests in the next Congress and in Harrisburg, and you care about any of the issues being debated on the campaign trail, you need to make your voice heard by voting. Candidates you elect will be in a position to make a difference going forward.
We urge you to vote no matter what competing polls are predicting. That’s because we have seen repeatedly that many polls are not reliable predictors of election outcomes. Analysts have differing views on why pollsters keep getting things wrong. Some complain that the polling questions themselves are biased and tend to pre-ordain a result. Other argue that some pollsters improperly focus on registered voters rather than likely voters and assert that likely voters will more accurately predict election results than registered voters who may not actually show up to vote. And then there is the claimed undercounting of Republicans because of “shy Trump supporters” or others seeking to avoid vilification or worse for support of more conservative candidates or positions. This sometimes leads to no answer or misleading answers to polling surveys, and skews poll results.
Further complicating things are the hot political issues that initially grab voter attention, and then cool down after some period of time. In this election cycle, the abortion issue, the flailing economy and the Jan. 6 hearings may be good examples of hot topic concerns with differing voter impact with the passage of time. Earlier this year, most analysts expected Republicans to make big gains in November, as usually happens for the party that doesn’t hold the White House. But the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the rollout of the Jan. 6 hearings and the investigation of former President Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents and the rise, fall and threatened further rise of gas prices have all captured voter attention and served as a rallying point for advocates to push for voter turnout to elect candidates sympathetic to a particular view. That was then. But now, some reports suggest that uneasiness about the economy and immigration may have overtaken abortion concerns or continued focus on the expanding saga of Donald Trump’s legal problems, raising new concerns and predictions about control of the House, Senate and state capitols.
But who knows? And that’s precisely the point. No matter what you hear from the pollsters, not a single poll result actually votes for a candidate. Only registered voters can do that. Voting is an enormous privilege and empowers each of us to be a part of a communal decision on issues that matter to us. We encourage you to vote by Nov. 8. Your future depends on it. PJC