Thoughts on the election results so far: Beto, Stacey, and how polls are totally worthless.

Christopher Keelty
4 min readNov 9, 2022

Like many people I’m pleasantly surprised by the overall result, given the dominant narratives going into the election. I’m dreading another Georgia runoff, though I’m optimistic about the outcome (more on that below) and I’m hopeful that the Dems can hold the Senate, and maybe even pick up a 51–49 majority that would diminish the influence of recalcitrant Democrats like Manchin and Sinema. That’s the big picture. Here are a few assorted reactions to smaller points:

It’s time to stop thinking poll results tell us anything.

For the fourth straight election the polls were basically worthless. I know, data mavens will talk about “margin of error” and “a snapshot in time,” and so on. The fact is that the methodology behind polling is fundamentally broken, and there doesn’t appear to be any good mechanism for fixing it. There may be some value in small internal polls, but for the most part campaigns should stop using polls to inform their strategies, and we as news consumers should ignore the polls entirely. I’d love to think the news media might lessen their focus on poll data, but that’s not going to happen.

Even voters who don’t like Democrats like Democratic policies.

Progressive policies won almost everywhere they appeared on the ballot directly. This includes constitutional amendments protecting abortion rights and ending prison slavery, as well as environmental initiatives. The one exception is that Louisiana voters chose to protect prison slavery, which is… interesting.

Zeldin’s loss in New York means a big sigh of relief.

I did not really think Lee Zeldin could win, and the margin of victory for Hochul is more proof that polls are worthless. The truth is he was never really close, and all we all endured a manufactured narrative that meant more clicks for the New York Times and more talking points for Fox News. That said, if Zeldin had won it would have shifted the political landscape, signaling that “CRIME CRIME CRIME” was a winning platform and likely setting back criminal justice reforms for a decade or more.

Christopher Keelty

Writer, cartoonist, and nonprofit pro. I have too many interests, but let’s focus on culture & politics. Bisexual, cis. He/him, please. | Twitter: @keeltyc.