Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Watch the Polls Magically Tighten

 

Pollsters hate to be wrong. And they knew their thumbs have been on the scale all along. The time for theater and posturing is over: now they are going on the record, and no longer are fooling around.

Rasmussen yesterday showed Trump up by one point. As the election looms, watch ALL the pollsters adjust, and quickly. They each want, in hindsight, to be shown to be the most accurate company. So even if the actual support levels have not changed much, the polls are now showing strong swings for Trump.

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  1. Jon1979 Lincoln

    If you’re pollster with other non-political clients who rely on your ability to provide accurate data, tightening the margins before Nov. 3 makes economic sense. But if you’re a political polling outfit whose main clients are TV networks, major newspapers and/or Internet portals who’ve hired you specifically with the idea you’re going to tweak the input data to get them the numbers they want for The Narrative for the past 52 or so weeks, is your company’s collective TDS to the point now that you really don’t care if they give you bad final numbers?

    Pollsters can get good reputations for being an outlier and getting the results right when everyone else got them wrong, but if you’re part of the ‘everyone else’ and you don’t really do polling outside of politics for media clients, are those clients not going to hire you for the 2022-24 election cycles if you gave them the numbers they wanted? The public might remember in general that some of the final polls were crap, but they probably won’t recall which final polls specifically were crap, and if the media clients aren’t embarrassed to get the final call wrong (as they weren’t in 2016 — they just said they didn’t account for the Electoral Vote split), why can’t this coming weekend’s final polls continue to try and serve the preferred slant as part of an effort to try and depress certain voter turnout?

    • #1
    • October 27, 2020, at 6:13 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  2. Hartmann von Aue Member

    I’m sticking with Trafalgar and Helmut Norpoth. 

    • #2
    • October 27, 2020, at 6:23 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. Arahant Member

    I commented on this to my wife last evening. Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!

    • #3
    • October 27, 2020, at 6:25 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  4. PHCheese Member

    Yea, it’s sort of like hurricane classification. They all, for the most part, shrink from 4 or 5 to a tropical storm to get everyone to evacuate and to sell tv ads on the weather channel.

    • #4
    • October 27, 2020, at 6:27 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  5. Stad Thatcher

    Try this:

    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/pollster-frank-luntz-if-trump-defies-polls-again-in-2020-my-profession-is-done

    The best Luntz quote from the article is this:

    “Pollsters did not do a good job in 2016. So, if Donald Trump surprises people, if Joe Biden had a 5- or 6-point lead, my profession is done.”

    I thought polling would have been totally discredited after 2016, but it’s too useful a tool for the MSM and Democrats to give up . . .

    • #5
    • October 27, 2020, at 6:33 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  6. DonG (Biden is compromised) Coolidge

    iWe: Pollsters hate to be wrong. And they knew their thumbs have been on the scale all along.

    Public polls are put out to push a narrative and drive campaign spending. Note that the people pushing polls (media organizations) are the primary place that campaign spending occurs.

    I think the public polls will have less pressure to be accurate this time, since vote-by-mail gives them a great excuse for being wrong. 

    • #6
    • October 27, 2020, at 6:42 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  7. Jon1979 Lincoln

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    iWe: Pollsters hate to be wrong. And they knew their thumbs have been on the scale all along.

    Public polls are put out to push a narrative and drive campaign spending. Note that the people pushing polls (media organizations) are the primary place that campaign spending occurs.

    I think the public polls will have less pressure to be accurate this time, since vote-by-mail gives them a great excuse for being wrong.

    But the other spin here has been that vote-by-mail is going to be a Biden tsunami, so if that’s the case and they end up wrong, they’re either going to have to adjust their mail voting spin or say Trump won based on Election Day polling, where they still have six more days to crunch the numbers accurately, if they actually care about that.

    • #7
    • October 27, 2020, at 7:11 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  8. JoelB Member

    Trying to crush the spirits of the Trump voters has not worked as rallies, Trump Trains and Boat parades have indicated that those who are for Trump are likely to vote. They must now stir up the opposition with a get-out-the- vote emphasis lest complacency doom their candidate.

    • #8
    • October 27, 2020, at 7:27 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  9. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    The polls will have to drift from push polls to predictive polls in order to save their reputations and be useful as push polls later.

    • #9
    • October 27, 2020, at 7:29 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  10. Seawriter Contributor

    Stad (View Comment):

    I thought polling would have been totally discredited after 2016, but it’s too useful a tool for the MSM and Democrats to give up . . .

    Once is an incident. Twice is a coincidence. Three times is enemy action.

    The polls will have to spectacularly faceplant three times to be totally discredited. Even if Trump wins by a landslide next Tuesday the pollsters can argue it was because Biden told the truth about the Democrats’ plan for the fossile fuel industry at the third debate, and if it had not been for that Biden would have won big.

    We will have to go through a third round of polling nonsense in 2024 before people start disregarding them.

    • #10
    • October 27, 2020, at 7:40 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  11. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    I thought polling would have been totally discredited after 2016, but it’s too useful a tool for the MSM and Democrats to give up . . .

    Once is an incident. Twice is a coincidence. Three times is enemy action.

    The polls will have to spectacularly faceplant three times to be totally discredited. Even if Trump wins by a landslide next Tuesday the pollsters can argue it was because Biden told the truth about the Democrats’ plan for the fossile fuel industry at the third debate, and if it had not been for that Biden would have won big.

    We will have to go through a third round of polling nonsense in 2024 before people start disregarding them.

    Maybe. Polls write stories all by themselves as long as they are in agreement with the narrative. Journalism schools seem to excel in churning out graduates that are both incurious and lazy.

    • #11
    • October 27, 2020, at 7:46 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor

    I keep hearing that, oh this election is totally different from 2016 regarding polls. I haven’t heard an explanation for that assessment . . .

    • #12
    • October 27, 2020, at 8:39 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  13. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I keep hearing that, oh this election is totally different from 2016 regarding polls. I haven’t heard an explanation for that assessment . . .

    Because their voter fraud machine is working better. Last time they got confident and let Trump slip by.

    • #13
    • October 27, 2020, at 9:50 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  14. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I keep hearing that, oh this election is totally different from 2016 regarding polls. I haven’t heard an explanation for that assessment . . .

    Listening to Jonah Goldberg on this past weekend’s Remnant, the thinking seems to be the polls are different now because Biden isn’t hated like Hillary was hated, and that people who took a chance on Trump in ’16 are so turned off now they’re voting for Joe in ’20. Which living in the Washington area may be the situation there, though Trump’s support in the 20-county national capital region wasn’t exactly whiz-bang in 2016.

    And is does seem to leave out the opposite situation from four years ago, in that people who didn’t trust that Trump was going to govern as a conservative have been far happier than they expected with the results, and will vote for him this year after not backing Trump or Hillary in 2016. I’m pretty sure that either takes in one or two of the hosts of The Ricochet Podcast, so you’d assume it’s something that also exists outside podcast world, and would balance out anyone who did back Trump in ’16 but can’t do so now, either due to his behavior or because they’re irked he didn’t govern as a Democrat (a point Jonah brought up, though I just can’t see that as being a major subset of 2016-20 voters).

    • #14
    • October 27, 2020, at 11:19 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Jon1979 (View Comment):
    Listening to Jonah Goldberg on this past weekend’s Remnant, the thinking seems to be the polls are different now because Biden isn’t hated like Hillary was hated, and that people who took a chance on Trump in ’16 are so turned off now they’re voting for Joe in ’20.

    I probably shouldn’t have even mentioned it, @jon1979! We can spend time showing how the two are different–I think Democrats try to make that point, but there seem to be differences on both sides (as you point out) so who’s to say what will determine the final outcome? Isn’t it Nov. 3 yet??

    • #15
    • October 27, 2020, at 11:23 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Old Bathos Moderator

    Pollsters were not off by a lot in 2016–the national vote was close to the polling. They missed Trump’s narrow wins in PA, MI and WI. Hillary still won the national vote total close to the margins predicted.

    If Gallup is right and the party identification is only one percentage point apart while some pollsters are using a 2016 5-point party spread in their model, then it is tied or Trump is ahead. If Biden is only up by 2, Trump wins. 

    Of course, the pct of independents is way up and they have been very hard to read so who knows…

    • #16
    • October 27, 2020, at 12:08 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  17. Freeven Member
    FreevenJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I’m of the opinion that there are no experts on polling. I suspect most of them are political operatives (or working on behalf of political operatives). The same talking heads that express high confidence in polling will tell you that The polls always tighten up as the election approaches. That last part never made sense to me. The only way it works is if large numbers of voters remain undecided (who hasn’t made their mind up about Trump yet?) until the very end, then all suddenly decide to vote for the guy who is losing. That this happens every election suggests that a large amount of shenanigans is at play.

    But even those pollsters who are trying to be fair don’t really know what they are doing. There are so many unknowables that they have to guess at what’s going on. Some will guess better than others, of course. Throw a handful of darts and one of them is going to be closest to the bullseye. That doesn’t make it an “expert.” And of course, every election is different, so the target is always moving.

    My take is that (even the better) polls do more to influence an election than to predict it.

    • #17
    • October 27, 2020, at 12:15 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  18. DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… Coolidge

    Jon1979 (View Comment):
    Listening to Jonah Goldberg on this past weekend’s Remnant, the thinking seems to be the polls are different now because Biden isn’t hated like Hillary was hated, and that people who took a chance on Trump in ’16 are so turned off now they’re voting for Joe in ’20.

    This is what happens to someone who dwells deep in the beltway bubble.

    • #18
    • October 27, 2020, at 1:12 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. FloppyDisk90 Member

    My poll “bible” is the RCP average: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2020/president/us/general_election_trump_vs_biden-6247.html

    You can’t look at any one (or even two or three) polls and expect to get a good picture. While there has been a bit of a swing towards Trump recently I think calling it “strong” is a bit of a stretch. And for all the much hyped ballyhoo about how wrong the polls were in 2016 here’s what the RCP average was leading up to the election:

    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/general_election_trump_vs_clinton-5491.html

    Bottom line, even if the polls are as wrong as they were in 2016, Biden still wins in a landslide.

    • #19
    • October 27, 2020, at 2:16 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  20. Goldgeller Member

    I feel like Biden still wins. Yes, Trump does have a path but I think Biden wins. In my mind, why are the polls tightening? Well, I’d imagine that early vote counts and turnout data in each state can help pollsters reweight their sample and also update their priors. For the purposes of polls, many states are correlated, or at least I think they should be, so improving accuracy in one state would also improve accuracy in another state. I don’t do election polling but there is a lot of new information to be incorporated since we are looking at early vote numbers. 

    • #20
    • October 27, 2020, at 2:31 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. Jon1979 Lincoln

    From Wednesday’s WaPo:

    The surveys show Biden narrowly ahead of Trump among likely voters in Michigan by 51 percent to 44 percent, with Libertarian Party nominee Jo Jorgensen at 3 percent. In Wisconsin, likely voters favor Biden by 57 percent to 40 percent, with Jorgensen at 2 percent. Among registered voters, Biden’s edge in Michigan is five points, while he leads by 17 points in Wisconsin.

    This is why I was saying earlier that we may have reached a point where it’s no longer even important for some polling firms to get the final numbers right, if they’re providing their media customers with the results they want. If Trump wins, or even if he comes close in Wisconsin, the Post and ABC’s polling firm and its metrics should be humiliated from ever working in the industry again. Instead, they’ll weasel-word around the difference between ‘registered’ and ‘likely’ voters and will pay zero price, because the Post and ABC aren’t paying for accurate results here — they’re paying for results designed to depress Election Day voter turnout in a key swing state. That’s how you get a state Trump won in 2016 now showing a 57-40 Biden advantage.

    • #21
    • October 28, 2020, at 6:01 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  22. The Cloaked Gaijin Member

    Watch the Polls Magically Tighten

    I hope so, but ABC just released a poll where Biden is up 17 points in Wisconsin.

    Economist/YouGov just released a poll for the generic congressional vote which shows the Democrats leading by 10 points, their best lead in about two months. That just about as bad or worse than 2018, and the Republicans led in the generic congressional vote in 2016.

    • #22
    • October 28, 2020, at 7:59 AM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  23. The Cloaked Gaijin Member

    FloppyDisk90 (View Comment):

    My poll “bible” is the RCP average: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2020/president/us/general_election_trump_vs_biden-6247.html

    Those are national polls. Those are meaningless. We don’t elect presidents that way.

    • #23
    • October 28, 2020, at 8:08 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  24. DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… Coolidge

    The Cloaked Gaijin (View Comment):
    I hope so, but ABC just released a poll where Biden is up 17 points in Wisconsin.

    Heck, I think Biden’s going to win in Wisconsin (due to massive vote fraud), but I see no indication that he could be up 17 points.

    They must have polled only Madison.

    • #24
    • October 28, 2020, at 8:09 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  25. The Cloaked Gaijin Member

    DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… (View Comment):

    The Cloaked Gaijin (View Comment):
    I hope so, but ABC just released a poll where Biden is up 17 points in Wisconsin.

    Heck, I think Biden’s going to win in Wisconsin (due to massive vote fraud), but I see no indication that he could be up 17 points.

    They must have polled only Madison.

    The last Federalist podcast said that Trump is gaining a lot of popularity in the area, but it also said that the Paul Ryan suburbanites HATE Trump.

    • #25
    • October 28, 2020, at 8:37 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  26. DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… Coolidge

    The Cloaked Gaijin (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… (View Comment):

    The Cloaked Gaijin (View Comment):
    I hope so, but ABC just released a poll where Biden is up 17 points in Wisconsin.

    Heck, I think Biden’s going to win in Wisconsin (due to massive vote fraud), but I see no indication that he could be up 17 points.

    They must have polled only Madison.

    The last Federalist podcast said that Trump is gaining a lot of popularity in the area, but it also said that the Paul Ryan suburbanites HATE Trump.

    One can only hope that the sane part of the state overwhelms the nutty Southeastern part.

    • #26
    • October 28, 2020, at 8:40 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  27. WI Con Member
    WI ConJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    Yea, it’s sort of like hurricane classification. They all, for the most part, shrink from 4 or 5 to a tropical storm to get everyone to evacuate and to sell tv ads on the weather channel.

    And the news weather HQ is always in Manhattan. Any snowstorm that hits NYC and they act like it’s Armageddon for the country.

    • #27
    • October 28, 2020, at 10:48 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  28. WI Con Member
    WI ConJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    iWe: Pollsters hate to be wrong. And they knew their thumbs have been on the scale all along.

    Public polls are put out to push a narrative and drive campaign spending. Note that the people pushing polls (media organizations) are the primary place that campaign spending occurs.

    I think the public polls will have less pressure to be accurate this time, since vote-by-mail gives them a great excuse for being wrong.

    Yeah, those infamous “Exit Polls” should be even more reliable this year! (Sarcasm)

    • #28
    • October 28, 2020, at 10:52 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  29. Jon1979 Lincoln

    WI Con (View Comment):

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    iWe: Pollsters hate to be wrong. And they knew their thumbs have been on the scale all along.

    Public polls are put out to push a narrative and drive campaign spending. Note that the people pushing polls (media organizations) are the primary place that campaign spending occurs.

    I think the public polls will have less pressure to be accurate this time, since vote-by-mail gives them a great excuse for being wrong.

    Yeah, those infamous “Exit Polls” should be even more reliable this year! (Sarcasm)

    Seriously — has a Republican ‘won’ an exit poll survey since Reagan in ’84? I know the media’s exit polls favored Gore and Kerry in 2000-04 and Hillary in ’16, I just can’t remember if the Duke was favored by the exit polls over Bush 41 back in the ’88 election.

    • #29
    • October 28, 2020, at 11:50 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  30. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    WI Con (View Comment):

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    iWe: Pollsters hate to be wrong. And they knew their thumbs have been on the scale all along.

    Public polls are put out to push a narrative and drive campaign spending. Note that the people pushing polls (media organizations) are the primary place that campaign spending occurs.

    I think the public polls will have less pressure to be accurate this time, since vote-by-mail gives them a great excuse for being wrong.

    Yeah, those infamous “Exit Polls” should be even more reliable this year! (Sarcasm)

    Seriously — has a Republican ‘won’ an exit poll survey since Reagan in ’84? I know the media’s exit polls favored Gore and Kerry in 2000-04 and Hillary in ’16, I just can’t remember if the Duke was favored by the exit polls over Bush 41 back in the ’88 election.

    Not only that, but people don’t want to be branded if they admit they voted for Trump!

    • #30
    • October 28, 2020, at 11:58 AM PDT
    • 4 likes