media uses polls

How the Media Uses Polls to Campaign for Hillary

When the media uses polls from this week to tell you what will happen in November they are lying to you.

To see how the media uses polls, consider this quote from #NeverTrump zealot, Peggy Noonan:

I think this week marked a certain coming to terms with where the election is going. Politics is about trends and tendencies. The trends for Donald Trump are not good, and he tends not to change.

This is such an insane claim to make that it shows Noonan is only writing for those who desperately want to believe that there is no chance of a Trump victory.

Donald Trump was ahead in the polls not too long ago. There is no basis for claiming his current position is permanent (or accurate—see below).

But the media is pushing the narrative hard. Nate Silver, who has a mysterious reputation as a responsible prognosticator, claims that Hillary Clinton has over a 79 percent chance of winning. As Mish wrote yesterday,

  • Supposedly, Hillary has a 79.9% chance of winning in November as of today.

  • Supposedly, Trump had a 50.1% chance of winning in November on July 31, just four days ago!

  • Supposedly, Hillary had a 77.4% chance of winning in November on July 12.

This is pure idiocy.

Silver is clearly taking the news of the day and projecting it out to November when voters clearly have a time span of about three days.

How Silver can look himself in a mirror and make such widely varying off the wall predictions is a mystery.

And here’s a dose of realism from Howard Kurtz:

Additionally, U.S. News recently posted an article pointing out why polls are often inaccurate, apart from the issue of intentional manipulation. It begins:

In 2012, his own campaign’s polls, among others, predicted Mitt Romney, the Republicans’ nominee, would defeat President Barack Obama for the presidency, but just barely. Two years later, surveys in Kentucky strongly suggested then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, perhaps the shrewdest, most powerful Republican in Washington, could lose his seat to an upstart rookie Democrat.

Overseas, meanwhile, multiple public-opinion experts in 2014 said Scottish voters were deadlocked on whether to scrap one of the oldest relationships in European history and choose full independence from Great Britain – and underdog nationalists’ hopes soared.

Three different public-opinion polls, three important elections, three decisively erroneous results: President Barack Obama blindsided Romney in the 2012 presidential elections, winning a second term by five points; McConnell crushed Alison Lundergan Grimes en route to becoming Senate majority leader in 2014; and Scots last year overwhelmingly chose to keep ties with the United Kingdom, an outcome that stunned the polling establishment.

The article goes on to give reasons why these, and other polls, were so wrong.

Yet the media is obviously using them to discourage Republican voters.

To keep the current advantage that Hillary seems to have the government and the media is going to have to do all it can to hide economic bad news, delay Obamacare rate hike information, and distract the American people with ongoing terrorist attacks.

We’ll see. But there’s no reason to give up.

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Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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