There’s still a lot of confusion about the election results – but one thing is very much clear: the mainstream media’s polling system isn’t just flawed.
It’s fundamentally broken.
“They’re going to have to completely redesign what they do,” Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia Center for Politics said on CNBC.
He added that the results of the election between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden prove that one of the mainstream’s basic beliefs about polling is flat-out wrong.
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The media has claimed there’s no such thing as a “hidden” or “shy” Trump voter – also known as someone who votes for the president, but will not admit as much to a pollster.
It has dismissed the notion, and even mocked the conservative polling organizations that have made the effort to find and include them.
Sabato said it’s time to accept reality.
“Yes, there was a hidden Trump vote. They’ve been denying it forever,” he said. “I think there’s clear proof in the two elections, 2016 and 2020.”
Longtime GOP focus group guru Frank Luntz went even further, publicly apologizing to pollster John McLaughlin, who has advised the Trump campaign.
At best, it’s a badly flawed and broken system.
At worst, however, it could be operating just as they hoped. McLaughlin believes it’s a deliberate attempt to dampen enthusiasm among Trump voters by making them believe all is lost so they don’t vote.
“I refuse to believe that they are totally incompetent,” he told CNS News, saying instead that the polls were designed to suppress the vote.
Certainly, the numbers haven’t just been wrong.
They’ve been consistently, badly and terribly wrong – including polls from the nation’s biggest names.
Two days before the election, The New York Times – allegedly an “A+” pollster, according to FiveThirtyEight – claimed Trump was 3 points down against Biden in Florida.
Instead, Trump carried the Sunshine State by 3.3 points… a miss of more than 6 points.
Marist College, another so-called “A+” pollster, gave Biden a six-point lead in North Carolina, where Trump is currently ahead by 1.5 points… a 7.5-point miss.
And perhaps most infamously of all, ABC News – again, an “A+” pollster – put Biden 17 points ahead in Wisconsin.
Biden appears to have won the state – but by the slimmest of margins, about half a percent, or just 20,000 votes in a state that cast more than 3.2 million ballots.
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The mainstream polls also showed Democrats taking control over the Senate (they didn’t) and gaining seats in the House (they lost a bunch, seriously eating into their majority).
But not every poll missed.
A subset of polls from conservative organizations showed a much, much tighter race – because they understand one fundamental fact about the president’s supporters.
“Trump voters assume polls and pollsters have an agenda that doesn’t include them, so they refuse to cooperate,” Luntz told the Daily Mail. “That’s why they’re underrepresented. That’s why they get left out of the polls.”
Pollster Robert C. Cahaly of the Trafalgar Group agreed.
“There is a clear feeling among conservatives and people that are for the president that are not interested in sharing their opinions so readily on the telephone,” Cahaly told Sean Hannity before the election.
And he pointed to an easy explanation for it.
“We’ve seen people be beat up, harassed, doxxed, have their houses torn up because they’ve expressed opinions that are not in line with the politically correct establishment,” he said.
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His organization has consistently captured this phenomenon in its polls. He was one of the only ones to predict Trump’s shocking 2016 victories in Michigan and Pennsylvania as well as Republican victories in Florida in 2018.
Yet the mainstream polling “experts” has dismissed his polls and those of similar organizations.
“A *lot* of spam in the final few weeks of the campaign,” FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver wrote on Twitter just before the election, referring to Trafalgar, Rasmussen and others.
Maybe Silver should stop deleting his spam – and take a cue from Sabato: It’s time to completely redesign how they do their polls, get out of the business altogether or continue to get it wrong year after year.
— Walter W. Murray is a reporter for The Horn News. He is an outspoken conservative and a survival expert, and is the author of “America’s Final Warning.”