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  • Jeffrey A. Rendall

Assault on America, Day 666: When it comes to accurate polling, the devil’s in the unseen details

Pollsters prepping to lay another gigantic steaming pile of (cow dung) on Election Day

Yes it is. No it’s not. Yes it is. No it’s not. Yes it is. No it’s not. Yes, it is! No, it’s not! YES IT IS! NO IT’S NOT!


You’re allowed a little confusion as to who’s speaking in this fictional conversation. For months, it seems, pollsters and pundits have gone back and forth discussing the results of surveys of American voters concerning the upcoming election. Throughout the campaign, the numbers purportedly showed that Democrat challenger Joe Biden has maintained and even grown a consistent popularity lead over President Donald Trump.


The aforementioned experts bolstered their arguments with various sets of data. “X percent of voters are worried about the Chinese Communist Party (CCP, or Wuhan, if you prefer) virus and feel the administration’s response was inadequate”, and, “Y percent consider the economy to be the most important issue in their decision on who to vote for…” blah, blah, blah.


Meanwhile, weeks and months passed and very little seemed to sway the bottom (or top?) line much. The campaigns and parties fundraised off the poll numbers, claiming they needed more and more cash to either keep the momentum going (Biden) or to close the gap (Trump). Closer to the ground, the average person witnessed the tug of war and just wants to see Election Day determine where the truth lies. It’s a time where Karl Rove and his white board full of scribbles will offer real substance rather than mere ruminations of a well-worn establishmentarian who achieved fame for being “George W. Bush’s brain.”


Jonathan Easley reported at The Hill, “Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s polling lead over President Trump is holding steady in a significant shift from 2016, when Democrat Hillary Clinton saw her lead fall in the week before Election Day.


“All of the factors that pollsters measure to analyze volatility among likely voters — the number of undecideds, those considering third-party candidates and leaners who could still change their minds — are down at this point in 2020 compared to in 2016, keeping the race at a steady level that favors Biden in the home stretch.


“Nearly 60 million people have already voted, and the pool of undecided voters is dwindling. And while the polls have not fully digested last week’s debate, which seemed to be a net positive for Trump, it seems unlikely it will be a late game-changer.”


The media is what it is and Easley’s been a reliable liberal establishment voice for a long, long time. These people talk about “game-changers” and trends and, and, and… It all sounds great to the news consumer who’s just hanging on searching for snippets of information that support their own beliefs and observations. Because liberals are still smarting from the news industry’s giant rotten-egg in 2016, they’re starving for indications that next week will turn out differently for their side. You know, Barry “The big O” Obama won two elections. That was sure fun, wasn’t it? The great healer in power! Stall the rise of the oceans! Pass out the money!


Frankly, comparing Hillary Clinton to Joe Biden doesn’t reveal a whole lot. One, the former, is eminently not likable, even to her own family. The latter appears agreeable but yet Democrats are still so terrified of letting him loose to campaign and spread the good cheer. Maybe they should fashion a whole-head mask for him and insert a skilled impersonator in the thing, and program the guy to recite preapproved platitudes. Only there’s no way to make everyone on the left happy, so they just hide the game ball and tell everyone he’s so far ahead that they can go home now.


If the polls are indeed correct, it’s indicative of a large segment of the American public that apparently doesn’t weigh candidate quality -- at all. And the ultimate outcome is determined by whom the people like the least. That’s no way to set the future course of the preeminent nation in the world. I don’t think I’ve ever voted for someone I wholly disliked in my life, and my sentiments probably aren’t all that different from anyone else’s.


I didn’t think much of Mitt Romney’s principles (or lack thereof) in 2012, for example, but he clearly was the better choice that year. The concept isn’t that difficult, and most people aren’t controlled by negative thoughts.


The pollsters are missing something here. Millions of people wouldn’t base their candidate preference on a virus that really isn’t all that dangerous to over 99 percent of the people who contract it. There has to be more to it. Maybe the “experts” are only reaching those who willingly take random cell phone calls, or those who actually want to answer an opinion survey or those who aren’t wary of who’s on the other end of the phone line. Where are the pollsters getting their phone lists, the local Democrat party?


Where are all the new Democrat voters coming from?


Why aren’t the people participating in the semi-spontaneous Trump parades being surveyed? What about the inroads Trump has made into traditional Democrat constituencies such as African-Americans and Hispanics? Just in the past few weeks alone, several famous rap artists have come out for Trump. Are they atypical of their fan base? I don’t see it.


What about the big parades of “Jews for Trump” in New York City? Miscreants threw rocks at them. Shouldn’t this be considered anti-Semitic and a hate crime?


I have personally talked with a number of individuals who said they’re first time voters -- and they additionally mentioned their families are newbies too. And they’re motivated to vote for the first time in their lives because of Donald Trump and what’s at stake in this election. Are the pollsters and pundits asserting there are a like number of first-time Biden backers? How many brainless college students are out there, and are they actually wowed by the prospect of choosing a 78-year-old tall-tale telling white man as president?


There’s more. Traditionally speaking, the union rank-and-file vote Democrat. These were the “Reagan Democrats” in the eighties that took a respite from big government politics to vote for The Gipper, then supposedly returned to their political roots to support Big Bubba Bill Clinton in the nineties. They also took to Barack Obama’s “Hope and Change” message in this century. The problem (where the polls are concerned) is these Americans might as well be labeled “Trump Democrats” now. Trump locked up their votes four years ago and they haven’t switched back.


Trump also enjoys the enthusiastic support of police unions from sea-to-shining-sea, as well as inner city folks who have had it with empty Democrat promises to improve their communities and safeguard their persons. Survey after survey shows people want more police protection, not less. Are these individuals dying (pardon the pun) to vote for Joe Biden? If so, how?


What about the millions of Americans who have purchased guns in recent years, including a significant percentage of first-time buyers? Is this a hidden Joe Biden constituency? While it’s true that the radical left is starting to arm itself, common sense says most firearms purchasers aren’t wild about the notion of gun control and confiscation. Where do these people factor into the polls? Are they scared to come out of their houses due to the CCP virus? (No chance.)


The “experts” point to Trump losing support with seniors due to COVID-19 as well as the nameless, faceless suburban woman who is allegedly all gung-ho for doddering Joe and his giggling socialism denying sidekick, dancin’ Kamala what’s-her-name. Is the number in these categories who voted for Trump and have now switched to the D side significant? Does anyone know a 2016 Trump voter who’s gone over to the dark side? If anything, there are a lot more who were skeptical of Trump back then and would “crawl over broken glass” to vote for him today.


What does all this add up to? Confusion. I had a colleague who swore that polls should be trusted because the people who conduct them are professionals who stake their reputations and livelihoods on reporting accurate information. This is true, but with a caveat. The gold standard in polling, Gallup, gave up trying to peg the quadrennial horserace because of the difficulty of obtaining a representative sample in the digital phone age. It was a flat-out admission by the premier polling outfit that it couldn’t be done accurately enough.


One wonders whether some of these other pollsters would be willing to stake their lives on the validity of their numbers…? Are they prepared to cut loose their client list if Joe Biden doesn’t win by eight, nine or more points in the national popular vote? Would they place a mortgage sized bet that they’re right?


There’s no doubt that conservatives hope for a 2016 repeat. Some pretty smart writers (like Christopher Bedford at The Federalist) have cleverly addressed the topic. Establishment defenders like Jonathan Easley seem comforted by the fact Joe Biden is in a more stable position than Hillary Clinton was four years ago. But when you look at all the other factors, do they make sense?


Or is the polling industry on the verge of producing another big stinking zero?


Is campaigning important or not, Democrats?


As I argued the other day, this (and every one from now on) is a turnout election between competing bases of support. Just as it was four years ago, there’re the enthusiasm filled backers of Trump and the hate-ensconced supporters of Joe Biden. The latter’s voters have had four-plus years to hone their Trump Derangement Syndrome into a political hurricane. It seems to spin round and round without much substance in the center (where they eye would be), yet will supposedly leave a path of destruction when it makes landfall.


What stirs up the Democrats? What “warm water” is there to strengthen the developing storm? Is a lot of hot air enough? It definitely isn’t the lackluster gaffe-prone person of Joe Biden. Even when he emerges from his basement hideaway, no one shows up. Does it matter?


Democrats often cry about how Hillary Clinton lost Wisconsin in 2016 because she didn’t campaign there. This year they’re claiming Joe Biden’s going to win everywhere, including in Wisconsin, despite campaigning nowhere. What’s it going to be? Is the candidate’s presence among the ballot-casters important or not?


In all of this, Democrats are laying the groundwork for four years’ worth of excuses for why they didn’t win in 2020 when every pundit said they would. And the polls will help them whip their leftist strike forces into a tizzy with the argument that the election was “stolen” from them. If Joe Biden is so far ahead, like all the polls suggest, then how could he possibly lose? Fraud! Evil Trump! The greedy corporate interests! The Russians! Some computer geek in Bangladesh! (I just threw this in there.) The Brexit people!


Elections are won by having more votes than your opponent. If Joe Biden doesn’t campaign and isn’t much of a candidate, where are all his votes coming from?


As an issue, COVID-19 is losing steam. Is it too late to matter?


If you studied the Joe Biden campaign, you’d think everyone in the world was at risk of succumbing to the CCP virus, a modern-day plague similar in danger to the Black Death of the 14th century. While the threat isn’t exactly going away, its severity has diminished considerably despite much of the economy having reopened.


Tom Howell Jr. reported at The Washington Times, “Deaths from COVID-19 are ticking up slightly in the U.S. alongside record highs for recorded cases, with California, Texas and Florida reporting the most fatalities overall in the past week while the Dakotas and Montana report the most deaths as a share of their populations.


“Roughly 800 people are dying from the virus per day in the U.S., according to the seven-day rolling average. It’s a far better picture than the 2,200-plus who died during the spring crush in the Northeast and 1,200-plus who were victims of the ‘Sun Belt surge’ in mid-summer.


“But the average daily death toll is up 12% compared to two weeks ago. As winter approaches, experts warn that increased transmission will follow a familiar pattern, with greater transmission leading within weeks to more hospitalizations and more deaths.”


We know the virus is easy to contract. It’s also treatable in practically every case. Howell’s article indicated the death rate is actually around 0.6% now, down from earlier this year. Needless to say, the rate for people under 65 is even lower than that.


President Trump wants people to be cautious, but open up the economy. Biden prefers everyone cower in fear. Which worldview presents a more enticing option? Voters know the answer, and it’s only a matter of days until we see the results, something no pollster knows in advance.

  • 2020 Election

  • Mike Pence

  • Kamala Harris

  • Donald Trump

  • Joe Biden

  • COVID-19

  • media

  • polls

  • Trump parades

  • rallies

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