Will Durst: Pivoting pollsters

May 3, 2012

Now that the general election has unofficially begun, you and I and pretty much everybody dear to us, except for Kansas City Royals fans, are about to be buried under a blizzard of polls.

Because of their ongoing research, campaigns are prepared to pivot like kid with a coupon in a candy store, based on which group of potential voters likes which message best. And this time around, the focus of pollsters is something called "microdemographics" – small groups. These are tinier tastes, which can be more easily targeted. For instance, much has been made – and rightfully so – of President Barack Obama's commanding lead over Mitt Romney amongst men whose elder brothers entered the military after getting remarried in June.

But what must be more distressing to the challenger is the number of single women over 50 who Dutch-dated men named Henry and went home early who prefer the President over the former Governor of Massachusetts. The widest gap between those who viewed Obama favorably and those who didn't lay with shoe salesmen driving 10-year-old Hondas with rebuilt engines – a figure almost identical to the numbers reflected by hairdressers who have taken out restraining orders against bus drivers who were predominantly bald. As a point of curiosity, one of the few demographic groups in which Obama's approval rating was higher than his favorability rating, was among seniors living at home who had lost significantly more of their hearing than their teeth.

By comparison, 66 percent of seniors in care facilities who suffered from shingles and had a history of plantar fascitis thought exactly the opposite. Similar gaps appear in the numbers of home gardeners whose corn crop had been decimated last spring by rutworm beetles and left-handed arborists who refused to drive in the dark.

I think we can all agree it seems pretty obvious right now who has the upper hand. Whether or not he can keep the momentum going, well that's anybody's guess.

Will Durst is a political comedian living in the Bay Area. He performs regularly at The Marsh Theater.