The Small Difference Between Two Large Numbers

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Over at the B School, they teach that profit or loss is the small difference between two large numbers.

In 2018 Donald Trump thought he was going to juice the base by revving up the racism. The election took place on November 8. On that day, the fivethirtyeight.com aggregation of polls of “likely and registered voters” showed Trump “disapprovers” and 52.4 percent, and Trump “approvers” at 44.0 percent. A difference of 8.2 percent.

And what was the actual result? The actual result, in the aggregate popular vote for members of the House of Representatives, was 8.6 percent.

So let’s compare apples to apples. What do the comparable fivethirtyeight.com numbers look like this morning?

Donald Trump “approvers” have slipped from 44.0 percent to 42.9 percent.

“Disapprovers” are no longer at 52.4 percent. They are now at 53.6 percent.

The difference is no longer 8.2 percent. It’s now at 10.2 percent.

And that’s “approval” versus “disapproval.” Remember that recent Fox poll I posted about? The one where a small percentage of those who told the pollster they “approved” Trump turned around and picked Biden over Trump in response a subsequent question? It’s likely that the 42.9 percent who “approve” of Trump, as of this morning, include a small number who will vote Democratic.

So please buck up, folks. Trump is not a political genius, he’s just a metaphorically blind man who has grabbed hold of a piece of the elephant and foolishly think he understands the whole thing.