Poll Position

AP US Government and Politics

We are 72 weeks out from next summer’s nominating conventions. On average, how Accurate are polls at predicting the eventual party nominee for POTUS at this point in the race?

How accurate was your prediction?

Critical Questions

  1. Why do you think polls are so inaccurate this early on?

  2. What is a consequence of the inaccuracy of early polls?

  3. Describe the trend in the accuracy of polls as we get closer to the actual convention.

  4. Why do you think that is?

  5. we would be doing everyone a service if we just outlawed polls until 20 weeks before the convention where their accuracy finnaly climbs above 50%. Respond to this claim.

  6. Imagine we did try to ban all polls at this point in a presidential campaign. What organizations might fight that ban?

  7. What argument could those organizations and their allies make regarding the first amendment?

  8. According to the Economist chart below* who is leading the Democratic field so far?

  9. In February 2007, for example, Hillary Clinton had a 20-point lead over a young Barack Obama, who would end up winning the nomination a year and a half later in one of the closest primaries in recent memory. On the Republican side, Donald Trump had not even announced his candidacy 72 weeks before his party’s convention in 2016. Make a claim about How likely it is that Kamala Harris (the current front-runner) will end up winning the Democratic nomination.

  10. Based on the data above and below and your knowledge of american politics, make a claim about who will be the next president of the United States.

  11. Explain why people are paying more attention to the Democratic candidates than to the Republican candidates in this year’s election?

  12. Imagine that Amendment XXII actually limited presidents to ONE term in office. How would that impact this year’s presidential election?

  13. Imagine that Amendment XXII actually limited presidents to ONE term in office. How would that impact the American political system?

  14. If You ran for president in the year 2020, list the top five things that would stop you from winning.

  15. Why does polling data from Iowa (see below)* matter more than other states?

  16. How does the relative importance of states like Iowa impact American presidential politics?

  17. Why would someone like Kirsten Gillibrand who is getting slayed in the polls* (less than five points of support), Not drop out of the race?

  18. Or, we could ask, Many of these candidates know they are not going to win the presidency. why are they even running in the first place?

  19. Based on the data from the chart above, what conclusion do you draw about the accuracy of polling in general?

  20. If you were a Republican and wanted to make sure the GOP maintained the presidency would you urge Trump to run for reelection or to stand aside for another Republican?

Visual Extension

LEARNING EXTENSION

Listen to this NPR story: What Iowa Democrats Want In A 2020 Candidate: Someone Who Can Beat Trump

Action Extension

Get your GoPo teacher to run for president. Helpthem create a campaign committee and get them on the ballot in your state.

Our World In Data Extension

GoPo Valentine Extension

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