Polls Are Just More Media Propaganda
A Commentary by Brian C. Joondeph
Election season is upon us again, two years after one of the wildest roller coaster political campaigns in recent memory. This time it’s Congress on the ballot, not Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton. Yet President Trump is still on the ballot – his agenda, his policies, his future.
If Democrats win the House, we can expect Trump’s economic plans to be put on hold. Aside from the unlikely prospect of impeachment, Democrats will use every congressional committee under their control to investigate the president and his officials. Endless hearings, subpoenas and media coverage will have the Trump administration spending every waking hour answering to Congress, leaving little time to make America great again.
That’s why this election is so important for the left. The FBI and the Department of Justice did their best to interfere with the 2016 election and prevent the inevitable outcome. They then tried - and lied - to drive Trump from office, efforts which continue to this day, through FISA warrants, hiding of documents and the special counsel investigation. The latter hasn’t given up on the Russian collusion story, going as far to date as interviewing a Manhattan madam as if she is the key to proving Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin hacked the election.
The media is carrying the narrative on a daily basis for the left. Endless nonsensical news stories and panel discussions proliferate. Hyperpartisan political hacks like John Brennan, who despite losing his security clearance, doesn’t seem to have had his free speech curtailed as he claimed, appear regularly on CNN and MSNBC to spout their Trump hatred.
Then there are the opinion polls, a staple of any election cycle. Are the polls reflecting public opinion, or are they another tool of the media and their patrons in the Democrat party to effect the outcome of an election? Are the media doing exactly what they accused Russia of doing – meddling in an election?
What does Trump say? In a June 25, 2018 rally in South Carolina, between audience cries of “Lock her up” and “CNN sucks”, the president weighed in on the polls.
“We've never had a time like we're having. We've never had. We've never had higher polls than we have now.
“Even Gallup, Gallup, who treats me horribly. Polls are fake news also. What they do is called suppression. They put out these horrible polls, and then they hope that everyone's going to say, ‘Hey, look, I like Trump, but he's got no chance of winning.’ Suppression, it should be illegal actually. You want to check these pollsters, where they're coming from, they knew.
“We had one with ABC, I think it was ABC Washington Post, just before the election, like a week before we're down 12. Now, if you're down 12, OK, if you're down 12, it's over - if the polls are real. But I said it can't be real, we just went to Michigan, we had 30,000 people, we just went to other places. Excuse me, we went to South Carolina, but I didn't come here that often, you know why? Because we were leading by a lot.”
Is this simply Trumpian hyperbole? Or is he spot on with his assessment? Let’s go back to 2016 when all but one poll predicted a Hillary Clinton victory. Here is a summary courtesy of Real Clear Politics.
Clearly the end result was different. After these polling organizations cleaned the egg off their faces, they followed the rules of Bureaucracy 101 and convened a panel to figure out where they went wrong. The Ad Hoc Committee on 2016 Election Polling noted the obvious, that “polls under-estimated support for Trump.” Reasons included “overrepresentation of college graduates” and that some Trump voters didn’t reveal their preference until after the election.
The first factor is poor sampling. I wrote about this in 2016, describing an ABC News survey proclaiming a 12-point Clinton lead in a survey that oversampled Democrats over Republicans by 12 percentage points, with independents favoring Trump by two points, giving him a two-point edge in the pool, misleading headline aside.
The second factor is poll respondents keeping their preferences quiet. Perhaps they didn’t want to voice their support of Trump only to be called a Nazi, get thrown out of a restaurant or beat up.
Were these polls designed to accurately reflect election preferences of the voters, or instead were they designed to feed the narrative that Madam President was a fait accompli? Proclaiming her a landslide winner was wishful thinking and designed to dispirit Republican voters and suppress turnout. This was not news but instead propaganda.
Where do things stand today? Rasmussen, one of the most accurate polls in the 2016 election, has Trump’s job approval running in the mid- to high 40s most days in recent months. He hit 50% one day earlier this month. That’s better than President Obama was doing at the same point in his presidency. Among Trump’s total approval numbers, he recently had 34 percent approval among blacks.
Republicans are also more likely to vote party line than Democrats, according to Rasmussen. That’s another factor boding well for the GOP in the midterm elections.
Polls are interesting, but much can change in the next three months until the midterms. Expect the media to paint Republican midterm prospects as bleak, hoping to depress GOP voters into a “why bother voting?” mood before Election Day.
Remember that more than 90 percent of D.C. journalists vote Democratic, with an even higher number giving to Democrats or liberal-leaning political action committees. These are the people commissioning the polls and interpreting the results for us. Take it all with a big grain of salt.
Remember, too, that even though Trump is not on any ballot this coming November, his agenda is - future judicial appointments, trade deals, tax cuts, curbing illegal immigration and continuing to drain the corrupt Deep State swamp. Your vote could make the difference.
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Views expressed in this column are those of the author, not those of Rasmussen Reports. Comments about this content should be directed to the author or syndicate.
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