Trump and the Polls

A new poll after the nomination of the old hag as the Evil Party candidate suggests she got a mild boost from the show. Of course, Trump got a boost after his convention, but then the polling companies changed their methods in order put Clinton back in the lead. There are other polls showing Trump with a big lead and probably polls showing a dead heat. With the election more than three months out and most Americans enjoying the summer, the wild swings in the polls seems logical. It’s why partisans are prone to dismiss any poll that does not make them feel good.

Polling science is said to be much better now than in the past. After each election we’re told the pollsters got it close to right. Once in a while they miss, like we saw with Brexit or the last Parliament election in Britain. Obviously, the polling was wildly off with Trump early on and he did over-perform against the polls throughout the primary. That suggests the polling companies have not yet figured out how to identity the voter pool. Or, maybe the critics are right and the pollsters are lying to help the establishment.

It’s easy to be skeptical of polling. The sample sizes are so small, it is hard to see how they can be representative of the voter pool. What is never disclosed is the number of people who refuse to participate. It’s reasonable to assume that the hard thumping fanatics want to be polled, while normal people have better things to do with their time. A generation ago normal people may have been inclined to participate, feeling it was their duty as a citizen, but those days are long gone. The normies are woke.

Then there is that other reason to be skeptical. Everywhere you look the media is conspiring to deceive the public. A Muslim shoots up a gay club and we get stories about how he was a homosexuals struggling with his sexuality. All of those stories were lies. We get a dump of DNC e-mails showing a clear conspiracy between the media and the party, but the story they tell us is about Boris Badenov secretly conspiring with Trump. If you’re willing to lie like that, rigging polls is no great shakes.

That said, quantitative types will argue that some polls are pretty good. They get within a point or two of the results. Nate Silver’s new model was laughably wrong in the primaries, but his old model was pretty close to right in most of the primaries. He may have been off a few points, but he was picking the correct winner in every case. Investors Business Daily has been within a point the last few elections. They missed on the 2012 winner, but that was a close election and they were better than the rest.

The counter to this is that the range of possible results in any election is pretty small. Since the end WW2, the average difference in the popular vote is a little under nine percent. The big outlier was Reagan beating Mondale 58% to 40% in 1984. Most elections are within a 5% range so that means about five possible outcomes. In most of these elections, it was long clear who would win. Of those 16 elections, only six had any mystery to them and that’s counting 1968 and 2000.

Election Percentage Year
Barack Obama, Dem. defeats Mitt Romney, Rep. 3.86% 2012
Barack Obama, Dem. defeats John McCain, Rep. 7.27% 2008
George W. Bush, Rep. defeats John Kerry, Dem. 2.46% 2004
George W. Bush, Rep. defeats Al Gore, Dem. -0.51% 2000
Bill Clinton, Dem. defeats Bob Dole, Rep. 8.51% 1996
Bill Clinton, Dem. defeats George H. W. Bush, Rep. 5.56% 1992
George H. W. Bush, Rep. defeats Michael Dukakis, Dem. 7.72% 1988
Ronald Reagan, Rep. defeats Walter Mondale, Dem. 18.21% 1984
Ronald Reagan, Rep. defeats Jimmy Carter, Dem. 9.74% 1980
Jimmy Carter, Dem. defeats Gerald Ford, Rep. 2.06% 1976
Richard Nixon, Rep. defeats George McGovern, Dem. 23.15% 1972
Richard Nixon, Rep. defeats Hubert Humphrey, Dem. 0.70% 1968
Lyndon Johnson, Dem. defeats Barry Goldwater, Rep. 22.58% 1964
John Kennedy, Dem. defeats Richard Nixon, Rep. 0.17% 1960
Dwight Eisenhower, Rep. defeats Adlai Stevenson, Dem. 15.40% 1956
Dwight Eisenhower, Rep. defeats Adlai Stevenson, Dem. 10.85% 1952

The point here is that claiming you nailed 12 of the last 16 elections means nothing. Where pollsters are measured is when the final result is a mystery or debatable. Silver getting the 2012 election right made him a star because everyone else got it wrong. His star has now faded because he blew the primaries so badly. It suggests he was just lucky for a while or maybe his great insight was just a moment in time. The mood of the country has changed and the polling methods have changed, so his algorithm is now worse than guessing.

There’s also a new element here that we have not seen in our lifetime. The people in charge universally hate Trump. The media of both parties, the leadership of both parties, all sides of the chattering skull class, all of the beautiful people, everyone. They all hate Trump and the people backing Trump. This is a revolt of the elites and it is reasonable to assume that the pollsters feel pressure to put their thumb on the scales. If you’re going to do that, this is when you do it because everyone is doing it.

Even if the pollsters are playing it straight, they are facing an impossible task. What will this electorate be like compared to previous elections? We know lots of new voters are turning up. That was the story of the primary. We know lots of people are changing teams. Nationals Review, The Federalist and Red State are now wearing their woman cards, backing a candidate they excoriated just a year ago. At the same time, old Lefty warhorses like Susan Sarandon are flirting with Trump.

At least for now, no poll, even those that make you feel good, should be trusted. We are in uncharted territory in many ways. The pollsters, even those playing it straight, are just as lost as everyone else. More important, the people we tend to rely on for information are feverishly working against our interests to a level we have never seen. If they are willing to claim Trump is working for the KGB, they will say anything and do anything. All bets are off now, so trust no one.

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Strelnikov
Member
4 years ago

Can’t help but notice that Susan Sarandon shows up a lot around here.

Drake
Drake
Reply to  Strelnikov
4 years ago

Better late (by about 3 decades) than never?

Member
4 years ago

I always, always, if it is available, go to the poll questions if they make them available, and to the demographics. Many times the headlines spin what the pollsters have not. The figures don’t lie, but liars figure.

GlennDC
GlennDC
Reply to  Joan of Argghh!
4 years ago

Waste of time, what is the voter model? Questions are important, but not as important as the sampling model. Who is going to turn out, what screen to use, etc. C.F. sunshine’s Monster Vote….

GlennDC
GlennDC
Reply to  Joan of Argghh!
4 years ago

PS Love your stuff, it’s just the Qs are what they distract us with….

Lulu
Lulu
Reply to  Joan of Argghh!
4 years ago

Conservative Treehouse posts full poll data in pdf. JofA is right. Find the source material; don’t rely on what is often a biased summary.

BillH
BillH
4 years ago

Pray the prols’ enthusiasm lasts long enough for them to go vote in November.

james wilson
james wilson
4 years ago

Predicting who is going to vote is the problem for an honest man, and has never been this difficult. I’m guessing Brexit was worth five to the good guys. I don’t see Hillary overcoming five. But then again I don’t see President Trump turning back the Cathedral either, but at least this will be a show and not an infomercial.

Uncola
Uncola
4 years ago

I believe the polls are similar to selling life insurance or internet dating via Tinder: Adverse Selection applies.

Audacious Epigone
4 years ago

Over the last month, when Trump was trailing Hillary by an RCP average of 5 points, Rasmussen was the sole poll the aggregator included that looked good for Trump. Then after the RNC, when all the polls started moving in Trump’s direction and he took the RCP lead, his Rasmussen lead not only disappeared, the poll actually showed Hillary up by 1 point.

In other words, it’s tough to make heads or tails of right now.

el_baboso
Member
4 years ago

I’ve been thinking why the old press and the pollsters have been behaving the way they have been. Besides class solidarity, I think that there might be a sense that the cable and broadcast networks as well as print media are finished. Numbers of viewers, listeners, and readers keep decreasing on line, in print, and over the airwaves. So if the ruling class has to burn it down to defeat the populist wave and stay in power for four more years, it’s not a big deal since they believe that the MSM won’t be able to achieve the effects they… Read more »

Severian
Reply to  thezman
4 years ago

I agree. It’s easy to think of these guys as utterly cynical pirates in neckties (I do it often enough myself). But cynics wouldn’t be so consistently wrong, and do such consistently baffling things. They’re True Believers, most of them, and even if they cynics are ultimately in charge (hypothetically), they have to do enough to keep the True Believers working. My point of comparison is old-school commies — Stalin, Mao, Kim, etc. really did think they were building socialism, so for every typical dictator behavior they did, they pulled a Crazy Ivan and did something else totally off the… Read more »

el_baboso
Member
Reply to  Severian
4 years ago

Maybe it is just my own faith that makes me see the progressives through a realist prism. After reading The Closing of the American Mind, I invested a lot of time in understanding the German, French, and English philosophical traditions, and I have a pretty good idea of when each went off the rails and who was responsible. To me the head progressives are the high priests of Ba’al or Milcom, cynically exploiting the illiterate rubes. They are feeding a hunger (the need to believe), but their food is without sustenance — finely ground sawdust with artificial flavors and sweeteners.

jdallen
jdallen
4 years ago

Working back from your suggestion that we trust no-one this time, do you imagine that many of us trusted anyone in the past?

Aggie
Aggie
4 years ago

I saw a headline this morning about a Trump public appearance where he “insulted a fire marshal, called emails ‘stupid’, and made a baby cry”. I shit you not. Of course, these were hyperbolic interpretations of what he actually said, but this shameless intentional skewing reinforces the ZMan’s point about press objectivity. I wonder what the disgraced press corps will do once the gloves finally start coming off on the consumer side, and they start seeing a little hyperbole as expressed from their disgusted public as payback. As the single Texas Ranger once famously said, going up against a public… Read more »

Uncola
Uncola
Reply to  Aggie
4 years ago

Throughout the six corporations that constitute the Mainstream Media, the themes are as follows: Trump is an ignorant and backwards, fearful, bigoted bully who builds walls, whereas the Hildabeast is a loving and brave woman moving us “forward” by unifying all people in the stand against bullies everywhere from elementary school to the United Nations and the universe beyond. People are with “her” because only she can stop obscure filmmakers from insulting the towel-headed people everywhere. And, only she can stop the shooting of negroes whose hands are raised high up in the air. To those with “her”, the truth… Read more »

Notsothoreau
Notsothoreau
4 years ago

It’s simple. There is no downside to being a Hillary supporter. There is a significant downside to being a Trump supporter. Why risk getting your car keyed over a bumper sticker. People are just not going to respond to the pollsters. I wouldn’t mind doing a poll but I don’t answer my cell if I don’t recognize the number. And there’s something interesting in those figures. The Never a Trumps have been ranting over Trump losing as badly as Goldwater. The Dems don’t waste any time over McGovern losing to Nixon. They did rig the system to keep it from… Read more »

Exasperated
Exasperated
4 years ago

Today I saw a headline on Yahoo claiming that Trump attracts the “White Trash” vote. Does this have a familiar ring to it? There were a flurry of these themes in February/March. A prominent NR pundit made the same claim, albeit obliquely, by saying that Trump prevailed in the counties that had the highest unemployment, drug use, welfare, and the lowest education levels. Will the shrill smears and the “you’re so stooopid “insults to the Middle work for the DNC, even though it didn’t work for the GOPe? It seems to have a couple of potential outcomes. If the meme… Read more »

OfayCat
OfayCat
Reply to  Exasperated
4 years ago

I am amused by the big bleeding heart left who purports to deeply care about and will make every effort to ‘HELP” “in the counties that had the highest unemployment, drug use, welfare, and the lowest education levels.” seem fine with denigrating them as mindless rubes who will ruin America with their underserved votes.

notsothoreau
notsothoreau
Reply to  Exasperated
4 years ago

You should have watched the political shows on Sunday. The only voter segment they were concerned about were college educated voters. I had no idea they were the only persons allowed to vote.

Solomon Honeypickle, proud octaroon
Solomon Honeypickle, proud octaroon
4 years ago

Locked in and tuned out.

James LePore
4 years ago

I think Trump and his supporters versus the dishonest media, which includes almost all pollsters, in and end-times type battle is how this is shaping up. Trump calls the media dishonest all the time and in straightforward crystal clear terms. This is something they have never heard before and it shocks and frightens them because they know it’s true. They will say and do anything, including a trifling thing like rigging polls, from here on in to defeat him and his supporters who they hate just as much. Their souls are not at stake since they have none, but their… Read more »

antipater_1
antipater_1
4 years ago

“This is a revolt of the elites and it is reasonable to assume that the pollsters feel pressure to put their thumb on the scales. If you’re going to do that, this is when you do it because everyone is doing it.”

Maybe the pollsters are just given a warning: If you ever want to work in this town again buddy, Crooked Hillary better be in the lead.

LetsPlay
LetsPlay
Member
4 years ago

I don’t listen to the polls. I don’t care about their methodologies, their samples, sample sizes or questionnaires because they are simply stupid. Stupid and dishonest. The only sample I trust is putting my finger up into the air, after I have licked it, to sample which way the wind is blowing. Detecting which way the wind is blowing is a compilation of what I have read, seen, experienced and feel in my own bones over the recent past and compared to historical context. In the macro, the BREXIT “event” was the biggest tell in recent history. People are genuinely… Read more »

meema
Member
4 years ago

I’ve wanted to ask this question for a long time but there was no place to pose it and hope for an intelligent answer. I’m stepping out here because I’ve come to trust there is a chance I will get a logically answer. I don’t understand the value or reason for polls. What is the point? If your candidate is ahead you exhale? If your candidate is behind you…what? Plan to vote several times? Rush out to the nearest campaign store front and volunteer? Call everyone you know to make sure they are on board? What do people do, I… Read more »

meema
Member
Reply to  thezman
4 years ago

So, once again, all one has to do is follow the money? I guess what baffles me is that public opinion is so easily manipulated. I ought to know how it works, I was a photo stylist for an catalog producer once. I could style a bed set that only a princess deserved. No one buying the comforter set ever really believed her bed was going to look like the photo, did she? In regards to polls I just don’t get why anyone would care what other strangers think. The masses have a collective attention span of a gnat and… Read more »

LetsPlay
LetsPlay
Member
Reply to  meema
4 years ago

The advent of statistical polling was intended to be a quick, economical, and reasonably reliable service to those who needed to know where they stood in terms of achieving their goals at a point in time. It was not intended as a means of prediction but of seeing where things are at a given time. For products, market segments are tested with different “messages” to see which ones have the biggest positive effect and at the same time you can also learn what does not work so well. Different messages work well for different audiences based on demographics. You can… Read more »

meema
Member
Reply to  LetsPlay
4 years ago

But let’s play ‘what if…’ for a moment. We’ve been told by numerous authors, over the past two decades, that we, as a society, are being dumbed down. Well, the reason cannot be more obvious, can it? The Evil Ones, who wish to fundamentally change us, have been plotting and implementing their diabolical plan since the end of WW2. IMHO, this leaves the false impression that the Evil Ones are brilliant, like the dastardly villain rubbing his hands together celebrating his own evil. But they don’t know they are evil, they think they are RIGHT! This leaves them wide open… Read more »

LetsPlay
LetsPlay
Member
Reply to  meema
4 years ago

It is a multi-pronged effort. Flood the media, “the air waves” so to speak so that those listening will tend to get the “intended” drift that things are moving in a certain direction that cannot be avoided and go with the flow to be one of the gang. The sheep want to belong. Then there is the effort to fill in the gaps with free-loaders like illegal immigrants who get to vote; ex-convicts whom democraps push to get voting reestablished; the dead who have surely earned their right to vote, at lease multiple times; and well, you have a perfect… Read more »

walt reed
walt reed
Member
4 years ago

“In your face” still seems to be a powerful rebuttal. The more the elites bind together (and out themselves) the stronger the “In your face” emotion becomes. I have done no polling at this time. My comment is accurate to +/- the coefficient of friction.

Exasperated
Exasperated
Reply to  walt reed
4 years ago

“Outting themselves”, I like that. It seems that Donald Trump makes some cringeworthy, outrageous remark, which has the media trolls salivating that they have got him, at last, and then it falls flat. Not only do they expose their extreme prejudice and malice toward every day working people, they wind up looking like cranks, kooks, and caricatures of the most lame, half baked, Republican conspiracy theorist. Meanwhile, Donald Trump yet again sucks away all the energy. Is that how it works, is that a strategy? Is it that Trump’s flippant remarks get lost in the excessive, massive, over reaction so… Read more »

meema
Member
Reply to  Exasperated
4 years ago

Perhaps you have just hit the same wall I have, i.e., the realization that no one could possibly do as much damage to the Republic as O has in the past 8 years, with the possible exception of Hitlery. So, ABC mean just that – Anybody But Clinton. We have no other choice – rock meet hard place.

Uncola
Uncola
Reply to  Exasperated
4 years ago

Look who stands against Trump: Establishment politicos, RHINO’s, the Mainstream Media, Hollywood celebrities, Black Lives Matter, Liberal Democrats, international globalists, Fabian Socialists, Neocons, the Deep State, the Rainbow Coalition, the LBGT Nazis, politically correct snowflakes on every college campus and more.

Perhaps it is true what was written in ancient Sanskrit on the cave wall: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”.

Exasperated
Exasperated
Reply to  Exasperated
4 years ago

Well, you could do what I did and ask yourself who would Huck Finn vote for? Huck Finn is an American archetype, and “Huckleberry Finn” is a radical American novel. Anyway, the Progressive left gives me permission to be who I am, and I am an Incorrigible, or so it would appear.

OfayCat
OfayCat
4 years ago

With the knives from everywhere out for all things Trump, it is prudent to not let pollsters, or anyone for that matter, know that you still have your brain and that you are using it to vote for Trump instead of the evil twat of the burning left.

Severian
4 years ago

I’ll admit it, I love polls and pollsters – nothing beats having the enemy straight up tell you what he’s thinking. Whatever they once were, today they’re ALL push polls. “Donald Trump is a warmongering egomaniac who will start World War III. Do you: agree, strongly agree, or neutral?” I’ll happily pretend to be Hillary’s! biggest fan just to keep them talking (this was one of my favorite pastimes in grad school, too — pretend to be even more radical than the weirdo student groups who are forever shoving petitions in your face, and you’ll hear the kind of moonbattery… Read more »