Susan Estrich doesn’t mention me in her column on the recent Reuters/Zogby poll that shows John McCain 5 points ahead of Barack Obama. I doubt she saw it. But she reaffirms my instinct to doubt its significance.
“There’s an old saying in show business: No one knows anything. Movie executives, at least the honest ones, will tell you that if they’d given green lights to half (actually way less than half) of the pictures they said no to, and said no to all the ones they said yes to, they’d probably be in exactly the same position they are. If anyone tells you that they know, at this point, how the election will turn out, then you can be sure that they really don’t know anything at all.”
She also singles out my favorite pollster for praise, Tubby Harrison. Tubby doesn’t get his name in the paper much. He just polls races very accurately.
“Always believe your own polls, especially when they’re bad, my friend and pollster Tubby Harrison used to tell me. By the summer of 1988, the country had turned from believing we were on the wrong track to thinking we were on the right track. They thought my candidate, Governor Dukakis, was more conservative than he actually was — that’s what beating Jesse Jackson every Tuesday will do for you.
By the fall, it was clear: right or wrong, they didn’t like him. Of course, you never say that to the candidate; you tell him ‘they don’t know you,’ not that ‘they don’t like you.’ You say it’s a communications problem, which is why being the communications director is the hot seat in a losing campaign.”