It’s safe to say, from time to time, everyone fears they may be screwing up on the job.
I don’t care if it’s a gardener mowing a recently seeded lawn or a physicist plugging in the final calculations to a complicated formula challenging Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, if you’re human and accept potential fallibility, there will be imperfections every now and then.
Only Democrats – and maybe Donald Trump – seem to be immune to the self-doubt condition. Ask a Democrat representative or senator whether they’re 100 percent sure “climate change” exists and that it’s slowly destroying planet earth and they’ll tell you that “science” already proved the hypothesis and we have less than x number of years remaining to reverse course before catastrophe strikes. Likewise, former president Trump is renowned for never giving an inch or conceding that he’s sorry about anything. A character flaw? It’s for each of us to ponder.
But when it comes to public polling, there is no foolproof methodology that gets it right every time. As a group, pollsters generally are a pretty confident lot. They’ve spent years or decades in statistical analysis, ingesting historical trends and studying voting behavior. But today’s rapidly evolving hyper partisan political environment is shedding doubt where once there was very little – or none.
What if the pollsters are way off the mark again this time? In an article titled “Pollsters fear they’re blowing it again in 2022”, Steven Shepard reported at Politico:
“Once again, polls over the past two months are showing Democrats running stronger than once expected in a number of critical midterm races. It’s left some wondering whether the rosy results are setting the stage for another potential polling failure that dashes Democratic hopes of retaining control of Congress— and vindicates the GOP’s assertion that the polls are unfairly biased against them.
“It’s not that pollsters haven’t tried to fix the issues that plagued them in recent elections. Whether they’re public firms conducting surveys for the media and academic instructions or private campaign consultants, they have spent the past two years tweaking their methods to avoid a 2020 repeat.
“But most of the changes they have made are small. Some pollsters are hoping that since Trump isn’t running in the midterms, the problems of underestimating Republicans’ vote share will disappear with him. But others worry that Trump’s ongoing dominance of the news cycle — from the FBI seizure of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago to litigation against his businesses in New York — effectively is making him the central political figure going into Election Day.”
So, pollsters claim they’re having a hard time getting conservative and Republican Trump backers to participate in their surveys – but is this really that perplexing of a dilemma to try and understand?
First of all, most everyone, including myself, has been contacted by a polling outfit to take part in a survey. The caller rarely tells you up front which entity is conducting the survey, and assuming the hireling who managed to get you to give up “a few minutes of your time” even names what organization they’re acting on behalf of, chances are you still have no clue who’s really behind the operation.
Most folks with a smidgen of common sense surmise that their opinion might register in some media poll, but at what cost?
If you’re like me, getting a ring from a strange number simultaneously stimulates a semi-panic accompanied by a spate of red-colored messages flashing in your eyes, virtually shrieking “Caution! Warning! Danger! Oh no! Cliff ahead!” before your tongue can formulate a response to anything the voice asks. Immediately you wonder which Joe Biden deep state government entity might be listening in to the conversation and then experience mental pictures of armor-equipped police units bearing the letters “FBI” together with barking dogs and scary looking rifles banging on your front door.
Don’t say it can’t happen. If you’ve got a particularly vindictive liberal neighbor who’s made comments about your TRUMP 2020 campaign paraphernalia that’s still visible through a crack in the blinds at just the right time of day, they might’ve taken the opportunity to rat you out to the federal authorities who generously reward such Stasi-like behavior.
How many January 6 defendants are there now? Approaching a thousand? And who knows how many legions of taxpayer paid Justice Department employees are pouring over photo and video images from that day closing in on identification matches for more FBI SWAT teams to accost and arrest the innocent. Or what if you were nowhere near the capital on that day but might look like someone in the crowd? Ever heard the term “doppelganger”? It could be bad.
It's a sad fact that our current government cares so little about the freedoms guaranteed every citizen by the Constitution and is therefore willing to imprison blameless, non-violent people simply because they expressed preferences for one of the major party presidential candidates over the decreed winner last election. For exercising your God-given rights to assemble, speak and protest, it could cost you everything in attorney’s fees to defend yourself against prosecutors backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.
And those are the lucky ones – meaning, the folks who can still roam the countryside free on bail. The scapegoats who are doing time in the DC gulag with a special section for January 6 prisoners aren’t nearly so lucky. How many lives have been destroyed for being at the wrong place at the wrong time? No one condones the violent ones, but should such a large group pay for the sins of a few?
Therefore, when a pollster poses the question, “Do you identify as a Republican, Democrat, Independent or some other party?”, should you provide an answer? How about, “For which candidate did you vote in the 2020 election – Donald Trump, Joe Biden or some other candidate?” Or, “How likely are you to vote in this year’s midterm elections?” And, “For which party’s candidates do you plan to vote on Election Day? Republican, Democrat, or some other party?”
With each successive reply you almost feel as though you’re signing your own arrest warrant.
It isn’t just phone calls, either. I’m guessing everyone associated with politics of any kind has received a flood of emails and texts posing questions out of the blue that one would never expect at odd hours of the day. I’ve gotten texts at seven o’clock in the morning on weekends with the sender seeking input to a political type question. My name and telephone number apparently found its way to another list and the poor soul on the other end of the line probably gets paid by the number of responses he or she gets.
Strangely enough, the only such pings I tend to answer are from Democrats. I’ve received texts regarding my support for local Democrats and whether I intend to vote for he or she by mail or in person. I sometimes reply “No” and then enjoy a brief moment of satisfaction knowing that I influenced their list maintenance in some small way.
But I also figure that maybe these are stealth polling businesses who dreamed up an alternative survey method and bunch me in with their other Republican respondents. You never know.
Having once worked for a firm that conducted grassroots consumer and minor political issue-type polling – and polled people myself – I understand how difficult it is to obtain a representative random sample. If Americans were hesitant to put themselves on the record twenty-five years ago, I’m sure the feeling is a hundred times stronger now. This is true especially for Donald Trump supporters who’ve been dragged through the mud for years and are now branded as “semi-fascists” and “threats to democracy” by the ruling elites of both parties. It’s a shame that reputable pollsters are taking the fall for the Democrats’ drive to identify, isolate and conquer, but if there’s a solution to this quandary, I’d like to see it. When we have a president who talked “unity, unity, unity” during the campaign but now can’t get through an entire public speech without smearing some compilation of patriotic Americans, then Democrats are reaping what they sowed.
For what it’s worth, there’s a good amount of skepticism among conservatives that pollsters have yet to solve their big problem. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich, who knows more than a little about how past polls were wrong – by a lot – wrote last week that many organizations fail to distinguish between registered voter and likely voter samples. Gingrich suggested that national generic ballot surveys factor in way too many Democrats because the most populous states are overweighted in pollsters’ formulas. People in California and New York, for example, won’t feel the same way about which party should control Congress as those in smaller, more rural conservative states do.
When you consider that there’s a fairly significant pool of non-responsive Trump voters out there evading poll questions, the disparity is likely even larger. Newt wrote, “All this adds up to a crushing Republican advantage in the districts FiveThirtyEight considers most competitive. In fact, the edge among registered voters in those districts is 55 percent Republican to 34 percent Democrat. If you teased out the likely voters in that bloc, it probably is even more pro-Republican.
“So, I don’t have any questions about who is likely to win in November. But I do wonder how often the mainstream media pollsters are willing to be wrong.”
It’s hard to definitively say why Trump backers are so wary of pollsters. It could be they’re afraid to expose their identity in today’s oppressive and judgmental political reality, or perhaps they’re just skeptical that their responses won’t be objectively weighed by the polling pros. Either way, it certainly looks like Republicans will do well this year. We can only hope we’re right.
Joe Biden economy
Biden cognitive decline
January 6 Committee
Build Back Better
Marjorie Taylor Green
2024 presidential election