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May 27, 2022

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, founded by the Quakers, established in 1837, is the oldest historically Black college.

Remember Dinkins

POSTED: September 27, 2012, 3:00 pm

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The last two weeks have produced a wave of good polling data for President Obama in his quest for a second term. Successive polls have shown him with leads in key swing states and establishing a significant lead in the important battleground states of Ohio and Florida. The latest good news for the Obama campaign comes by way of the Gallup tracking poll, showing the President crossing the 50% threshold and signs that he might be nearing the 270 vote electoral majority needed for victory.

Despite all the very positive polling trends, the Obama campaign needs to be mindful of the five full weeks remaining before the election and not slip into a false sense of security. Poll results are not votes, and there has been an instance in which polling data has concealed the true sentiments of voters. The 1989 mayoral campaign of David Dinkins in New York City is a prime example. Projected to comfortably defeat his challenger Republican Rudy Giuliani, Dinkins eked out a historic win by a couple of percentage points. Four years later he lost his re-election bid to Giuliani by a similar margin. In the 1989 New York City mayoral campaign, race was a huge factor, as it was four years later, and the false positives recorded for Dinkins in polling was likely white voters hesitant in expressing their true sentiments during phone interviews. With polls showing the President leading in Florida, Ohio and Virginia, the Dinkins experience is a lesson the Obama team needs to remember. In fact, the Romney camp is dismissing the polls; a sign of denial or belief that the polling samples do not accurately reflect voter sentiment or their own internal polling.

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