Are the polls wrong …and who cares?
In dealing with political polls, it is a little like living in Ground Hog Day. The one thing that is provably true by common sense and history is that polls being taken at this time bear little to no resemblance to what happens on election day.
We say that it is too early to make any definitive judgments or predictions based on current polling. So, why, in God’s name, do we spend so much time taking polls and then reporting so extensively on them? Maybe it is the same reason that newspapers publish those ridiculous horoscopes. It fills space and generates meaningless idle conversation — and has an appeal to those who actually believe the nonsense.
Because the media applies severely biased interpretations of the polling, they are not only meaningless, they are disinformative.
There is a place for polling, but it is not in the popularized public opinion polls that dominate the news. It is in the polls we do not see over-analyzed by the so-called analysts and experts. The useful ones are the unpublicized internal polls taken by the campaigns. You see the hint of them when candidates talk – without specificity – of their “internal polls.”
These internal polls rarely deal with the head-to-head number this early. It is a waste of a question. Rather, they focus on the voters’ receptivity to issues, a candidate’s presentation of issues and the public’s receptivity to keywords and phrases. This includes the interpretation of cliché phrases such as “gun control,” “law and order” or “America first.”
Such polls rarely get analyzed by media reporters because the are too esoteric … too boring … too hard to sensationalize. The public are more like sports fans. They want to know if their team is winning or losing even if the ball game is only in the first inning.
Rarely is there so much discussion and debate over something as meaningless. But since the left-wing press spends a great deal of time spinning the polling results against President Trump, Republicans and conservatives, there is a certain necessity in setting the record straight.
There is an underlying belief that polls – more exactly, the biased interpretations of polls – can influence voting. It goes something like this. If you show that Trump is down in the polls, it will encourage more people to want to be with the winner. In their minds, that means voting for Biden and the Democrats.
Based on their interpretation of the polls, the anti-Trump media establishment is predicting that not only will Democrats prevail in 2020, but that it will be more than a “wave.” According to left-wing media, It will be a political tsunami — with more Republican losses in the House, Republican loss of the Senate majority and Republican losses across the nation.
They believe that the desire to be with the winner will drive independents – and even a lot of Republicans – to vote for Democrats. Conversely, it will discourage Republican voters from going to the polls – meaning that Democrats in the media are participating in tactical voter suppression.
The other side of the theory – the one Democrats ignore – is that lower polling numbers can and do motivate those who are in second place to get out and vote. And can discourage those in the lead because they believe that their vote is not needed.
The only thing that seems obvious is that polling numbers have virtually no impact on the measure of voter enthusiasm. That may be why the measured Republican enthusiasm is higher than the Democrats even though the Democrats lead in the head-to-head popularity polls.
There is one area where good polling – even early on – has a measurable benefit to the party leading in the polls. The perception of being ahead does help generate more donations. Like any other gambler, political donors bet with their contributions. The better the odds, the greater the money donated – bet, as it were.
The anti-Trump press uses data manipulation to give false impressions – essentially weaponizing the data. Recently, MSNBC compiled polling numbers from various sources to show that Biden was besting Trump in a number of polls. Of course, they did not show other reputable polls that showed better numbers for Trump. In one instance, MSNBC showed a FOX News poll that had Trump down by 8 points. What they did not show was that the poll showed a three-point improvement over a previous FOX poll.
If you have gotten this far in my commentary, you should know that you, as a reader, and I, as a writer, have wasted our time sharing a communication that has little to no importance. As a service to you and my other readers, I shall try to stick to more important matters – where opinion and analysis are revelatory of something more meaningful … anything.
So, there ‘tis.