If it's in the News, it's in our Polls. Public opinion polling since 2003.

 

Pollsters Push Sketchy Polls Again

A Commentary By Brian C. Joondeph

Monday, October 21, 2019

Pollsters are at it again, pushing sketchy polls, not to reflect public opinion, but to shape it. This is called propaganda, a popular tool for dictators who want to control the information flow from an all-powerful government to their subjects, the people.

What once passed for journalism is now mostly propaganda, an effort by major media organizations to insert themselves into the political process, to push their agenda, even if it means throwing any pretense of journalistic principle and integrity to the wind. Look at the Project Veritas undercover videos of CNN for the latest example.

Polls of any type are designed to take a scientific snapshot of opinion at a particular point in time. A small sample is taken from a larger population and if the sample is representative of the entire population, then the poll should be valid.

Joondeph - Trump Approval Chart - October 21, 2019

YouTube screen grab

When cooking a sauce, the chef might taste a bit to determine if additional seasoning is needed. If the sauce is mixed properly, then the small sample represents the entire sauce. Polls work the same way. A skewed sample will produce bogus results. This may be accidental or intentional. Which is it? I’ll report, you decide, to coin Fox News’s latest catch phrase.

Pew Research Center is the latest pollster to weigh in on President Trump and impeachment. Let’s see whether their polling sample sauce was well stirred before they took a taste.

Pew sampled 3,487 “randomly selected” adults between October 1-13. That may or may not be representative of the general population but given that only about half of eligible voters actually vote in presidential elections, a better sample would be registered, or even likely voters.

Who was in that sample? Of the 3,487 total sample, 1,453 were or leaned Republican, 1,942 were or leaned Democrat. In other words, 56 percent Democrat and only 42 percent Republican, a 14-point difference favoring Democrats.

The polling sauce wasn’t well mixed, and they sampled the unsalty portion of the pot, leading the chef to believe more salt was needed in the recipe. When served, the sauce will be too salty, just as many pollsters learned on election night 2016.

The Pew poll asked whether, “The House should conduct impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.” Notice that the question is about beginning formal impeachment, not whether Trump should actually be impeached or removed from office. To date the House has not begun actual impeachment, instead using the House Intelligence Committee to hold secret hearings, excluding Republicans, selectively leaking to the media, all to create a charade of impeachment without the House actually voting for it.

Pew found 54 approving the beginning of an inquiry versus 44 percent opposed, a 10-point difference. If the 14-point difference in political affiliation within the poll sample was negated, there may be a 4-point majority in favor of NOT beginning impeachment proceedings. The unmixed sauce did not provide a useful taste test for the chef.

Is there a 14-point difference in political affiliation between Democrats and Republicans in the US population? For one measure, look at any recent Trump rally. The crowd outside the rally, as seen below in Dallas, is larger than the actual audience for any of the Democrat candidates. 20,000 people inside, the same number outside, and many more not even getting tickets. In city after city, week after week.

Joondeph - City Image - October 21, 2019

YouTube screen grab

Gallup provides a more quantitative assessment. In early September 2019, they polled asking about party affiliation and found 29 percent Republican, 31 percent Democrat, and a whopping 38 percent independent.

This sample is much different than the one Pew used, explaining the skewed result. Was the Pew poll designed to reflect popular opinion or shape it?

The phrasing of the poll question is also curious. I’m sure a fair number of Republicans actually want the House to begin impeachment proceedings. A few weeks ago, President Trump dared Congress to impeach him. If I was surveyed by Pew, I would agree with Trump and say yes to the House passing an impeachment resolution.

Am I now a RINO turncoat? Hardly. Once an official resolution is passed, Trump and the Republicans can call witnesses, serve their own subpoenas and participate in the process. This would all be televised, not held in secret by the Intelligence Committee under the nonsensical umbrella of national security. I don’t think this is what Pelosi and Schiff really want. To the Democrats I say, “put up or shut up.”

If the survey asked me if Trump should be impeached, I would say no. But bring on the resolution, I’m fine with that. Make Democrats from House districts Trump won in 2016 go on record to remove a duly elected president based on an innocuous phone call with the Ukrainian president.

Pew is in good company. A recent Fox News poll was conducted by the left-wing Braun Research opinion firm. They reported by a 51-43 percent margin that Trump should be impeached and removed from office.

They didn’t mix their sauce well either. Their sample of registered, not likely, voters was 40 percent Republican, 48 percent Democrat and only 12 percent independent. Remember that Gallup noted over a third of the electorate identifying as independent. That’s significant as the Wall Street Journal found only 42 percent of independents favoring impeachment.

If Trump is so unpopular, why are so many turning out at his rallies? Rasmussen, the most accurate pollster in the 2016 presidential election, has a Daily Presidential Tracking Poll. In recent months, Trump has consistently polled ahead of Obama at the exact same point in their respective presidencies. On Friday October 18, Trump’s total approval was 47 percent compared to 44 percent for The One.

Trump has faced virtually nonstop negative media coverage for his entire presidency compared with mostly favorable coverage for Obama. Yet who has the higher approval ratings?

Good luck to the Democrats and NeverTrumpers impeaching a popular and successful president, with record low unemployment, a booming economy, and a deliberate avoidance of foreign wars and entanglements.

The House voting for impeachment is a dangerous gambit. If the vote fails, the Democrat base will go ballistic. If the vote passes, vulnerable Democrats may lose in 2020, giving Republicans control of the House. And getting the necessary 67 Senate votes for conviction and removal is extremely unlikely.

Instead the impeachment narrative is just that, a drumbeat from the media to dispirit Trump and his supporters. The polls provide propaganda, attempting to convince squishy Republican members of Congress to abandon Trump. Watch Trump and his supporters at any rally and see confidence and enthusiasm, with dispirited faces only on CNN or MSNBC.

Brian C Joondeph, MD, is a Denver based physician, freelance writer and occasional radio talk show host whose pieces have appeared in American Thinker, Daily Caller, and other publications. Follow him on Facebook,  LinkedIn, Twitter, and QuodVerum.

See Other Political Commentaries.

See Other Commentaries by Brian C. Joondeph.

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.

Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.

We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.

Some information, including the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll and commentaries are available for free to the general public. Subscriptions are available for $4.95 a month or 34.95 a year that provide subscribers with exclusive access to more than 20 stories per week on upcoming elections, consumer confidence, and issues that affect us all. For those who are really into the numbers, Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs and a full history of our data.

To learn more about our methodology, click here.