Joe Biden is destined for the White House – or so the pollsters tell us. It should probably come as no surprise at this point, but it’s still a tad astonishing to see the political-media establishment trot out the same sketchy playbook from four years ago. It’s 2016 all over again, only this time it’s Joe Biden rather than Hillary Clinton who is painted in dubious poll numbers as a force of sturdy stature long before a single ballot has been cast. Why would the Dems believe it will turn out any differently this year? For those suffering from severe Trump Derangement Syndrome, it’s better than admitting just how weak a candidate their chosen one really is.
A June 10-16 Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Biden holding a whopping 13-point edge nationally over Trump. Pay no attention to the fact that Reuters, commissioner of the survey, has displayed a comical bias against Trump ever since he catapulted to the top of the political scene in the summer of 2015. But the media brand is only the latest outlet to determine that the gaffe-prone Biden, bunkered in his basement and avoiding public interaction, is lapping Trump all across the board.
A Delusion So Impressive It Must Be Real
“Biden’s current lead over Trump is so large — over 8 percentage points in the national RealClearPolitics polling average, and an average advantage of 3 points or greater in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — that a 2016-level polling error wouldn’t matter,” Politico “chief polling analyst” Steven Shepard wrote in a revealing paragraph in a June 17 piece. “A lead that large would probably guarantee Trump would be denied a second term, and even a polling miss on par with 2016 wouldn’t be enough to overcome it.”
Shepard is attempting a most unconvincing bit of sleight of hand. His entire article is devoted to questioning the accuracy of statewide polling, yet he still uses this very same bogus mechanism to put the lackluster Biden squarely in the driver’s seat even after ably listing several reasons not to do so. Shepard acknowledges the colossal errors – deliberate distortions would be a more accurate term – that pegged Hillary Clinton as a shoo-in during 2016 while declaring similar shenanigans today wouldn’t matter with Biden holding such an insurmountable edge in polling, even if that edge is totally fictitious. Our miscalculations may be spectacular, this line of reasoning goes, but Biden is so far ahead in them that it doesn’t matter that they are entirely wrong.
It’s proving to be a bit too much to stomach, even for some Democrats.
“Some people say, ‘Oh, look at the numbers,’” Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) said on June 15. “I don’t believe these numbers.” Dingell reminded fellow Democrats that she issued similar warnings in 2016. “Four years ago, many of you on this phone call thought that I was nuts,” Dingell said. “I was in enough communities and heard enough people talking that I was very worried about the outcome of that election.”
Jim Messina, who served as President Obama’s campaign manager in 2012, agrees with Dingell that the polling is not to be trusted, even as he sees Trump as vulnerable. “This race is going to tighten,” Messina said in a June 16 Zoom cast. “Don’t believe any of these polls — it’s going to be very close. But the president faces historic challenges, and I would be surprised if he were a winner in November, but of course we were all surprised four years ago.”
Look at Him Go!
Messina correctly states that these crazy poll numbers are not credible, but then he seems to take a cue from Shepard in concluding that they somehow show that the shaky Biden is a formidable candidate. This may be the most damaging fallacy for Trump opponents to embrace. “Maybe Joe Biden isn’t such a terrible candidate after all?” reads a June 3 headline to an op-ed in The Washington Post. “Joe Biden must be doing something right,” is the headline to a May 21 piece by Post columnist Jennifer Rubin.
The Washington Post understands its readership very well. Democrats are looking for a reason to believe in Biden when the most basic eye test tells them he is shaping up to be a historically awful major party nominee. Seeing him way ahead in polls that they have learned not to trust after the bitter harvest of 2016 may provide a certain psychological comfort that is more important than actual hard numbers at the moment.
Read more from Joe Schaeffer.