The Story of Beto and Pete, as told by the polls

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Now that we have dispensed with Bernie Sanders’ and Joe Biden’s stories, let’s have a look at two very different cases, those of Beto O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg.

See this post for a description of how the numbers are calculated for the following graphic:

Instead of using a straight line regression I used a third order polynomial to track the polling over time for these two non-linear candidates. Each shows a rise and fall, with the fall ongoing. Don’t pay much attention to the 20 day projection. Maybe one or both of these candidates is oscillating rather than descending. Only time will tell.

There seem to be two main conclusions that can be drawn from these graphs.

1) Buttigieg is more or less on the board with a consistent high one digit showing, but he did not surge after the debates, and he is not really surging anywhere. In contract, O’Rourke has been essentially a non factor. People blame much of the pattern of polling on name recognition. This is true to some extent, but this effect is a) overplayed and b) important in choosing a candidate, not something to be discounted. Given the possible role of name recognition note that an unknown small time mayor is beating the pants off (in this low digit world) the guy who was VERY famous running against Texas Ted Cruz. In the end, O’Rourke does not appeal, Buttigieg has some potential.

2) Neither of these candidates really seems to be going anywhere.

In case you think me unfair or a statistical scoundrel of some kind for using a third order polynomial (and you should think that) for making the trend lines, there’s more.

The following graphic has the third order polynomial extended to fifth order. To illustrate the absurdity of it all, not this: There are some 38 data points here. A 38th order polynomial line would run through all of them. Anyway, using the high order polynomial, both candidates are doing great! But that is just for fun.

More important is the straight line regression line that shows both candidates as flat lining or slightly declining across this entire period, down below 10%. I suspect both of these candidates will be out of the race by the end of this November.

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