By Jennifer Lader
Some anticipate, others dread, the upcoming 2016 US presidential election. Meanwhile, the strength and breadth of feeling make for a highly charged environment. To help voters prepare, two Lehigh Valley synagogues are set to host polling events on consecutive nights, just days before the election.
“I have never seen anything like this election cycle,” said Chris Borick, professor of political science and director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, who will speak at both events. “Donald Trump is unlike any other presidential nominee in U.S. history, and Hillary Clinton's nomination is, of course, [significant] for breaking a major glass ceiling.
“Add in the fact that both carry historically high unfavorables among the electorate and you have a unique election cycle that will be one for the history books,” Borick said.
At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 2, at Congregation Brith Sholom in Bethlehem, Gordon Goldberg, professor emeritus of Kutztown University, will team up with Borick in “Election Forum: Certainty v. Uncertainty.” Goldberg will conduct a poll, said to be highly accurate in predicting the outcome of the general election. Borick, a dynamic speaker, will discuss national and local polls, and the Congressional race.
This is the sixth time Brith Sholom will host such a forum, having begun in 2006 with the Bush-Kerry contest. The event is co-sponsored by the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley.
The very next evening, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 3, at Congregation Keneseth Israel in Allentown, Borick will speak at “History in the Offing: The 2016 Election by the Numbers.” He will examine the results and meaning of the various polls.
“It will give voters unique knowledge and insight immediately prior to the election,” said Barry Cohen, event coordinator, on behalf of the KI Adult Education Committee.
For those considering attendance at both events, Borick said, “I always like to throw in some unique material for individual talks. There certainly is lots to talk about this year!”
Borick is a nationally recognized public opinion researcher who has conducted over 300 large-scale public opinion surveys during the past two decades. The results of these surveys have appeared in numerous periodicals including Time Magazine, The Wall St Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post.
Borick has provided analysis for the BBC, National Public Radio, PBS, MSNBC, CBS News and NBC Nightly News and had his survey results aired on CNN, FOX News and C-SPAN.
The events are free, open to the public and include refreshments.