You’d have to be brain dead not to have recognized that the world of polls and pollsters took a serious credibility hit in 2016. Even the exit polls on election day were proven to be way off. From FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver to Larry Sabato and his cloudy crystal ball, those who sample the electorate for a living were dished out a main course of crow. For the irredeemable deplorables watching these dime store soothsayers issue one mea culpa after another on national television, it was a beautiful thing to behold.
Here we are two years later and it’s entirely possible these folks haven’t learned a damn thing. Without a doubt Donald J. Trump defies the numbers; he is not one to easily quantify. But here we are again, being force-fed a plethora of election data that has the president’s approval rating still in the tank, and an expectation that the Dems are ready to rake in the votes. Question: Are Trump’s approval numbers accurate or is it possible that his presidency is just as unquantifiable as the man?
Are the Polls Just More Noise?
Just before election day 2016, Mr. Trump polled a favorability rating of 36%. What sense does that make when he pretty much wiped the floor with Hillary Clinton? Are we to believe that people went to the polls and voted in large numbers for someone they do not approve? Now we have a just-released ABC/Washington Post poll that indicates the president’s popularity stands at 41% – only a few points above his pre-2016 election day number. These statistics put him in the rarified air of Gerald Ford, who after 266 days in office, scored a popularity rating of 38%.
Here’s a peek at other president approval ratings that this exact point in their administrations:
So, we are to believe that the man that has ushered in one of the greatest economic comebacks in American history registers popularity below that of Richard Nixon. And except for Ford, no one else comes close to Trump’s disapproval ratings. Well, that makes sense now, doesn’t it?
One wonders if the Sabatos and Silvers of the world understand that the citizenry is wary of their every move after the polling disaster of 2016. Even the most skeptical among us recognize the cautionary truth in the proverb, “once bitten twice shy,” because there is no indication that these people have learned their lesson and taken into account the “Trump effect.”
House Polls Looking Bleak
If we are to believe Harry Enten over at American Pravda – aka CNN – election data taken from these polls predict win after win for the Democrats that will end in their taking back control of the lower chamber. Since Enten and others like him are not polling Trump, he may have a chance of being a bit more accurate. But I doubt it. Even Enten acknowledges that “district polling” isn’t all that “reliable.”
Just as a side note, you might want to keep in mind that FOX News agrees with the leftist legacy media. The “fair and balanced” network predicts that its “likely” the Dems will pick up about 20 seats in the House. But FOX has its own problems when it comes to surveying the American electorate. Is there anyone else out there who remembers the illustrious FOX analyst Chris Stirewalt who penned that ever-so-prescient article in August of 2016 entitled “Don’t kid yourself, the Polls are usually right.”
Whatever you say, Chris.
Perhaps I am going out on a limb here and conventional polling will be more accurate this year because Trump the man is not on the ballot. Nevertheless, his presence looms large over this election. Midterm elections are typically a report card for a sitting president and if Mr. Trump truly is this unpopular the GOP will be facing the dilemma of having the president’s agenda undermined at every turn.
But if the pollsters get it wrong again in 2018 – as they did in 2016 – Republicans will continue their control of all three branches of the Republic, and those in the business of predicting elections just might want to start looking for another line of work because they will no longer have anything of worth to offer the body politic.