This isn’t entirely on Gerson. Silver thinks the survey itself could have been better constructed. Calling partisan identification too fluid, he suggests “a more telling measure might be to see a breakdown in support by voters who identify themselves as conservative, moderate or liberal.” That might produce a clearer and less hang-up-filled picture of the population’s opinions, but it won’t deter the uncritical usage of its results. That requires columnists to take a step back and think about how numbers are constituted, and what they do or don’t actually prove.

Jane Kim is a writer in New York.