Can Reality Trump Polls?

Nobody really knows what will happen on Election Day.

The news media has had joyous news this week, as they have gleefully been reporting far and wide: polls claim that Donald Trump is losing overwhelmingly to Hillary Clinton.

Recent polls have showed Trump’s unfavorable rating spiking again, after a brief improvement last month. That’s also coincided with a slide in national horse-race polls, which now unanimously show Hillary Clinton leading the presumptive Republican nominee. Clinton is also more unpopular than past nominees, but her negatives are neither as wide nor as deep as the broadly detested Trump.

Trump is setting modern records for political toxicity — at least for a major-party candidate this far out from an election.

Despite Trump's many flaws, we still find it hard to believe that a majority of Americans, much less an overwhelming majority, would prefer a pathological liar who has demonstrated her contempt for America's national security and its servants in uniform time after time.  Yes, Mr. Trump may say offensive things, but Hillary habitually does things that get people killed.

Not that you'll ever hear the truth from the media - though to our surprise, the New York Times actually permitted a smidgen of truth to sneak onto their pages for the first time in a long while:

If you’re a working journalist and you believe that Donald J. Trump is a demagogue playing to the nation’s worst racist and nationalistic tendencies, that he cozies up to anti-American dictators and that he would be dangerous with control of the United States nuclear codes, how the heck are you supposed to cover him?

Because if you believe all of those things, you have to throw out the textbook American journalism has been using for the better part of the past half-century, if not longer, and approach it in a way you’ve never approached anything in your career. If you view a Trump presidency as something that’s potentially dangerous, then your reporting is going to reflect that. You would move closer than you’ve ever been to being oppositional.

In other words: if they have to lie, and cheat, and steal, they'll do whatever it takes to get Hillary elected.  This isn't really a surprise to anyone who's been paying attention, but it's startling all the same for them to be so open about it.

And, if the polls are to be believed, it's working: Donald Trump is the most distrusted presidential nominee of all time, when by rights that honor should belong to his opponent.

So, is it all over but the shouting?  Perhaps - if the polls are to be believed.

Don't Give Up The Ship?

But polls aren't always to be believed.  There are many intricacies to polling, and a host of ways to rig a poll to get the result you want.

For example, no poll can control exactly who they talk to.  You might wind up talking to too many Republicans, or too many Democrats.  Rather than leave the numbers tilted, the general convention is to adjust based on known numbers of Republicans and Democrats, such as by proportion of registered voters or voting results in the last election.

But the last Presidential election was won by Barack Obama, a Democrat.  It doesn't necessarily follow that Democrats will vote in the same proportion this time around.

Furthermore, the most prestigious polls emphasize "likely" voters - that is, people who voted in the last election.  Yet in Mr. Trump's march to the nomination, his campaign famously dragged in people who had never voted for a Republican before, or even ever voted at all.  That sort of person simply won't show up in polls, being considered an unlikely voter and discarded.

Then there's the "Shy Tory Syndrome."  The media has so demonized Donald Trump that a great many people aren't willing to publicly admit they support him, which is why the voting booth is private.  People can do whatever they please in there and nobody is the wiser.  Especially in this heavy-handed election, it's entirely imaginable that there are a lot of people silently cheering on The Donald as he takes on all comers in a way America hasn't seen in decades if ever.

No Need for Conspiracy

Conservatives often bemoan the liberal media's conspiracy to hide the evils Democrats do and trumpet made-up scandals involving Republicans, but this isn't quite accurate.  Occasionally, yes, there is an actual conspiracy such as the infamous "JournoList" in which top journalists coordinated how they would promote Mr. Obama and kneecap John McCain.

Most of the time, though, no conspiracy is needed - the media all went to the same schools and swim in the same far-left swamps, so they mostly all think the same without having to be told to anymore.

However, in an election this strange, there can still be tactical differences even among like-minded people.

For example: suppose you are a fiercely liberal journalist who is appalled by Donald Trump and committed to doing whatever you can to make sure he is defeated.

Is this best accomplished by reporting that Mr. Trump is losing?  This might discourage his supporters, although they don't seem to have been much discouraged by the attacks and criticism he's been receiving for months now.  But it's just as likely to make Democrats figure Hillary has it in the bag, so they just stay on the couch come Election Day.

Maybe instead you should report that Mr. Trump is winning, in the hopes of scaring Democrats to the polls?  But, as Osama bin Laden pointed out, "When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, they will naturally want to side with the strong horse."  If it looks like Mr. Trump will win, the weak-minded middle might become more inclined to vote for him instead of their default Democrat.

No, the safest course is to report that Trump and Hillary are running neck-in-neck.  Yet that isn't what we see splashed across the headlines.  Why?

Phony Through And Through

Looking at the path our country has followed, it's easy to credit the far left with supernatural energy, overwhelming resources, and Machiavellian imagination for intrigue.  True, the left controls the commanding heights of just about everything nowadays, but that doesn't make them Albert Einstein.  They are still people too, subject to all the failings psychologists find so profitable.

What could be more human than wishful thinking?  Maybe the leftist journalists are simply writing what they hope will come true?

But with Democrats, wishes have a way of making it so, and never more than in elections.  We've documented many times the century-long history of Democrat voter fraud, and these days it's gotten so blatant that even Democrats are complaining about it - yes, even journalists, and even the mainstream media has confirmed it's possible.  It's been widely reported the vast numbers of Bernie Sanders voters who were given provisional ballots instead of real ones, and then the results were announced and Hillary anointed the winner before those ballots were even checked.  Where are these ballots now, and how many were there?  Nobody knows, and we probably never will.

As with most other forms of chicanery, Hillary has a track record.  Way back in 2008, we reported on credible concerns of Hillary vote theft in New Hampshire of all places.  Of course, as we all know, it didn't work that year: Hillary still lost.  We have every confidence she'll try harder this time.

And with absolute confidence in Democrat election fraud comes an explanation for these puzzling predictions of a Hillary landslide: They are cover for however many votes the Democrats create out of thin air.

Think about it.  Suppose, as we think is reality, the election is a squeaker.  It's not too hard to imagine Mr. Trump having a narrow lead despite everything - remember in the recent Brexit vote how every single national voice was singing the praises of the EU, and polls showed "Remain" with a solid margin, but the actual vote had "Leave" winning decisively?  In that case, the pundits and pollsters were deluding themselves, but apparently the British politicians are still honest enough to not tamper with the results even when they are appalled by them.

We all know the Democrats can and will steal a certain number of votes - perhaps a few percent, and in the cities many more than that.  Yet if the race appears to be neck-and-neck but the polls have a clear Hillary victory, people might ask pointed questions, especially with an angry billionaire funding them.

On the other hand, if the newspapers and polls have been predicting a Hillary blowout for weeks, and instead the results claim a narrow Hillary victory, she's still in the White House, but it's a lot less suspicious looking.

Wishful Thinking and Pipe Dreams

Then again, many conservatives thought the same thing in 2012.  Surely it wasn't possible that America really wanted the disastrous Barack Obama to have another four years?  Surely America would prefer the President from Central Casting, Mitt Romney?

All the same arguments we've just gone through applied back then too - and in the event, Mr. Obama won decisively.  There were definite indications of fraud - which the media ridiculed or ignored - but not enough to have made the difference in the election.  Mr. Obama won fair and square, both times.

What will actually happen on November 8?  We have no idea - and we also doubt that we'll really know on November 9, November 19, or at any other time.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments

The betting markets put Trump's odds at about 20%. If you think that's unreasonable, then you'd better get in on the action.

August 22, 2016 11:27 AM

Polls need to be accurate during the final days of the election. Otherwise the polling company could lose business in the next election cycle. But for now, the polls can be as wildly wrong as they want to be, especially if they seem to get about the same answers. And of course, the reporters are free to pick up on the slant that their bosses prefer and do their spin on the reporting.

Lets not call it a conspiracy, lets just call it a political operation. The liberal press and the democrat leadership realize that unfavorable polls for an opponent can easily hurt political contributions. Who wants to bet on a loosing horse? So if a political operation can return unfavorable results on an opponent, it can influence the campaign. An example was the previous Governor's race in Virginia where the Republican candidate was polled down 10% in the last days of the election but lost by only 1%. The NRP decided to spend the 3 million dollars allocated for the last week ad buy for Virginia elsewhere, and the Democrat snuck in under the wire. The polls were obviously wrong, seriously wrong. But the Democrats got away with it.

I believe we have the same kind of operation going on now in the Presidential election. There is a tremendous difference in the enthusiasm if you go by indisputable visual evidence, and not by the talking heads. Trump has SRO crowds in the largest auditoriums locally available, and is now even using football stadiums for rallies with no paid attendees. Clinton has trouble putting 200 in a room even including hiring people to attend. This is evidence that does not agree with the reported polls.

Bernie Sanders learned what lengths Hillary's campaign was willing to go to win, that lying is something she and her aids do very naturally. Why would we think that the polling data would be immune to democrat influence when we have so much evidence that truth does not matter, and winning at any cost and by any means is allowed. Lets get real. Politics for the Democrats has meant big money, a lot of big money for politicians and their friends and their sponsors. If they can win, they will control the Justice department so there will be no punishment for those in power. We have reached a pinnacle of corruption.

August 22, 2016 12:00 PM

Jason stole my thunder. If Trumpville really thinks the polls are wrong, or at least that the race is pretty close, then it's a slam dunk decision to put money on it.

The polls are really pretty generous to Trump. The better math has far worse odds with far less hedging.

Put a thousand bucks on it. If you're right, you'll make a bundle.

August 22, 2016 8:52 PM

No, it's quite possible to believe that Trump should/would win by votes, but that Hillary will steal it by shenanigans. The betting houses only pay out on the "official" winner.

August 24, 2016 9:52 PM

It's rigged alright, but by trump people. If he loses, they say she stole it or the RNC never backed him right or the NeverTrumps were to blame. No matter what, they'll never admit how bad a choice he was. So yea definitely rigged.

September 4, 2016 7:22 AM

People should be encouraged to lie to pollsters, particularly if they are leaning Republican. Everybody should say that they're voting Democratic. And make it sound real. The pollsters are in the business of gaming the election,. for their corporate overlords.

This would mean that Republicans could no longer trust the poll numbers, just like the Democrats.

The nature of the political discussion would be changed.

September 5, 2016 10:34 AM

People should be encouraged to lie to pollsters, particularly if they are leaning Republican. Everybody should say that they're voting Democratic. And make it sound real. The pollsters are in the business of gaming the election,. for their corporate overlords.

This would mean that Republicans could no longer trust the poll numbers, just like the Democrats.

The nature of the political discussion would be changed.

September 5, 2016 10:35 AM
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