We may not know the actual winner of the 2020 presidential election for a while. But one of the biggest losers can be easily identified. Pollsters are taking a reputational beating in the wake of their wildly inaccurate forecasts of a Joe Biden blowout, Democrat recapture of the Senate, and other assorted wide-of-the-mark calls.
“The polls got it all wrong again” is a regular cry following the debacle, but this is a most unfair slur against these dedicated professionals. The pollsters are not incompetent – quite the opposite. They perform their duties precisely as intended, unleashing endless waves of distortion designed to misinform voters and depress the turnout of the candidates they oppose. Establishment political operatives that they are, they were deployed en masse to damage the re-election campaign of President Trump and various undesirable GOP congressional candidates in 2020.
A Phony Calls Out His Fellow Actors
“The political polling profession is done,” claimed “leading Republican pollster” Frank Luntz in the wee hours of Nov. 4. “It is devastating for my industry.” The words echo similar comments made by Luntz, a regular on Fox News, in the lead-up to the election.
“Well, I hate to acknowledge it, because that’s my industry — at least partially — but the public will have no faith. No confidence,” Luntz said of the possibility of another polling whiff in 2020 occurring on the heels of the 2016 fiasco. “Right now, the biggest issue is the trust deficit. And pollsters did not do a good job in 2016. So if Donald Trump surprises people, if Joe Biden had a 5- or 6-point lead, my profession is done.”
Are these the words of a pained old pro warning of pitfalls that threaten to hinder the unalloyed pursuit of truth that marks his noble craft? Or is it the fear felt by an insider who knows how the rigged game is played and is distressed over its diminishing impact?
“We have an economic crisis, a genuine pandemic, social unrest on our streets. Nobody cares what’s on Hunter Biden’s computer,” Luntz said of the explosive controversy that rocked the Biden campaign in October. Why he felt this way soon became apparent, as it was alleged that Luntz himself was a featured correspondent on a Hunter Biden email chain unearthed from the laptop.
“I love you… [B]eau [Biden] loves you,” Hunter allegedly tells Luntz in an email before scolding him for not addressing a storyline about Jeep moving to China that Hunter told the pollster and Fox analyst was “one of the most outright fabrications ever paid for on television.”
“Because your dad hasn’t said one word to me since he was nominated for VP. Zero. Zip. Nothing. That’s why. Fair weather friends get fair weather treatment,” Luntz told Hunter as an explanation for his silence on the issue.
Frank Luntz is now calling out his polling colleagues. He has very good reason to. Nov. 3 exposed a laundry list of polling inaccuracies so egregious that they defy the term “mistake.”
Serving a Loaded Purpose
The Hill’s Joe Concha highlighted some of the most prominent whoppers laid down by top big-box media outlets:
“On Tuesday morning on the day of the election, The New York Times gave Biden a 70 percent chance of winning Florida, a state Trump won by more than 3 points.
A final poll out of Wisconsin from ABC News and The Washington Post for Wisconsin showed the Democratic nominee enjoying a 17-point lead in the Badger State. Trump is now within 0.7 points of Biden in the state.
FiveThirtyEight.com projected that Democrats had a 70 percent chance to take back the Senate, while Biden had a 89 percent chance of winning the presidency.”
Trump has made his boisterous opposition to the kind of institutionalized bias displayed by these major media organ polling operations a linchpin of his political persona. Having experienced firsthand how the process works in his bitter 2016 race against Democrat Hillary Clinton, Trump intuitively understands what many fed-up Americans right, left, and center are just now fully grasping.
“Polls are fake news also,” the president told audience members at a 2018 political rally in South Carolina. “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.”
But what if this fake news also can help manipulate results after the fact as well? Three crucial states that Trump’s campaign had counted on winning were among those widely declared by leading pollsters to be in Biden’s pocket in the run-up to the election.
Several notable polls had Biden up in Arizona despite Trump winning the state in 2016 by four percentage points. Biden was up by at least six points and as much as 13 in nine of the 11 polls for Michigan listed on Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight site before the election. Prominent polling brand Morning Consult had Biden up nine points in Pennsylvania on the eve of the election. NBC News/Marist and Monmouth University had him up by a comfortable five points.
As in-person voting results rolled in the next night, Trump surged to enormous leads in Pennsylvania (700,000 votes by the end of the evening) and Michigan (300,000 votes by the end of the night, though Biden took the lead the next day) while Arizona was controversially called for Biden despite tight numbers and plenty of votes still left to be counted.
Could Trump’s description of suppression perception not also apply to pollsters creating the false impression that Biden was expected to win states now roiling in turmoil over prominent voting irregularities and allegations of electoral fraud?
Read more from Joe Schaeffer.
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