Are you a bit tired about political polling results regarding 2020’s election and, of course, the state of Americans’ opinions about removing President Trump through impeachment? Even if you are not tired of the polls, you certainly must be confused. Today we are going to class to learn about how polling is “supposed” to work, on what polls are based, and the mechanisms used by polling companies to bring us “reliable” results. But before we get started, please know this: Pollsters in the case of predicting national election results are WRONG more often than not! Even the polling experts hired by FOX News — arguably the only national-conservative news network — have seemed to get their impeachment polling matrix wrong!
Let’s first turn the calendar back to the Fall of 2016. You remember: Hillary Clinton ran a valiant race against political newcomer Donald Trump for President. Clinton was to runaway with that election, set to take-up certain residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for at least four more years. Polls during the campaign showed Clinton with continuous leads over Trump. in fact, here’s the final tabulation of presidential polls for that election:
Fast forward to the Fall of 2019:
Braun Research — polling professionals retained by FOX — on October 9th released these polling results on impeachment. Their story began this way:
“Just over half of voters want President Trump impeached and removed from office, according to a Fox News Poll released Wednesday. A new high of 51 percent want Trump impeached and removed from office, another 4 percent want him impeached but not removed, and 40 percent oppose impeachment altogether. In July, 42 percent favored impeachment and removal, while 5 percent said impeach but don’t remove him, and 45 percent opposed impeachment.”
Shortly after, this story broke, media and polling experts went wild — not about the fact that (according to Braun polling) an alarming number of Americans want the President impeached, but that the polling company gave incorrect sampling numbers! And correct sampling data made a dramatic difference in conclusions. Here’s that story that was released days later:
“The poll released last week by Fox News that claimed most Americans favor the impeachment of President Trump underrepresented Republican and independent voters, The Post has found. The poll said 51% of voters were in favor of Trump’s impeachment and removal from office, while 40% did not want him impeached.
Princeton, New Jersey, pollster Braun Research, which conducted the survey, noted 48% of its respondents were Democrats. But the actual breakdown of party affiliation is 31% Democrat, 29% Republican and 38% independent, according to Gallup. A poll weighted for party affiliation would have concluded that 44.9% favored impeachment and 44.4% opposed it, an analysis has concluded.
The poll prompted Trump to tweet: ‘Whoever [Fox News’] Pollster is, they suck.’
Braun could not be reached for comment.”
Let’s cloud the polling image in your mind a little more with a “different” perspective. In an effort to poll what Americans outside the Beltway think about impeachment, a new Suffolk University survey done for USA Today gave 1,000 registered voters three options on the matter, the Washington Examiner reported.
The choices were:
A) The House of Representatives should vote to impeach President Trump.
B) The House should continue investigating Trump, but not vote to impeach him.
C) Congress should drop its investigations into President Trump and administration.
Of a plurality of those who responded, 37%, said the House should drop its investigations, according to the Examiner. Thirty-six percent of those polled said the House should vote to impeach, and 22% said the House should continue investigating the president but not impeach.
Five percent were trying to figure out what planet they were on and did not give an answer on the secret impeachment inquiry taking place in the basement of the U.S. Capitol.
The results also show how partisan the issue of impeachment is:
- Seventy percent of Democrats said the House should vote to impeach, while just 8% of Republicans and 22% of independents favored an impeachment vote.
- Just 8% of Democrats favored dropping the House investigations altogether, while 71% of Republicans and 36% of independents favored the no-more-investigations option.
I don’t know any better way to describe what we’re seeing — specifically the glaring conflicts in polling information — than to use one word: “Politispeak.” What is “Politispeak?” — “Politicians calling something by another name to reduce its impact; to make it misleading.”
The best personal example of this for me is the current governor’s race in Louisiana between the incumbent Democrat John Bel Edwards and political newcomer and businessman Eddie Rispone.
The woes of Louisiana are well-known: the only state to have a population loss in the last year, the worst in pretty much every category and list compiled by numerous public and private sources. Rispone, as the challenger, points to the failures of the incumbent governor as being the principal reasons for everything wrong in the state. Governor Edwards rather than respond in this way (paraphrased): “Yes, Louisiana has had an economic downturn. We’ve lost jobs to neighboring states, many industries have closed shop and headed to Texas and Florida, and our sales tax is the highest in the nation. But we’re working hard to improve those things that cannot be repaired in four years. It will take a process and some time.” Governor Edwards — who served in the Louisiana legislature for years before running for governor — instead discounts every negative mentioned by Rispone. His doing so gives him an out from necessarily defending the poor policies of his and previous administrations that led Louisiana to where it is today.
The best political debate response I’ve ever heard came from candidate Rispone to Governor Edwards when Edwards said this: “Former Governor Bobby Jindal left Louisiana with a huge budget shortfall of $900 million. His outrageous budgets over the past four years of his administration overestimated revenue and underestimated expenses. There was no way we could in 3.5 short years plug the holes of all those Jindal budgets that were just fraudulent.” Rispone’s response: “You voted FOR every one of those Jindal budgets.”
How can we explain all this, phrasing it to make it easy to understand:
- Presidential elections are NOT national elections. They are state-by-state elections;
- Electoral college representatives in each state are elected by their state’s voters to represent them when the Electoral college vote takes place;
- The Electoral college representatives are the sole judges of which candidate wins the election and will assume the office of President.
Folks, each of these polls — besides being flawed in their structure and sampling — represents not nationally factual information from actual voters, but the opinions of “probable” voters regarding for whom they may cast their votes. These are not state-by-state polls but national polls.
So what does the state-by-state polling data show?
That’s a great question. Remember those battle-ground states results in 2016 that resulted in Trump’s election? States like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and several other states determined the presidency. Their election results were different from what national polling showed.
Where are they today?
The new battleground state polls from the New York Times and Siena College, which “suggest that the president’s advantage in the Electoral College relative to the nation as a whole remains intact or has even grown since 2016, raises the possibility that the Republicans could — for the third time in the past six elections — win the presidency while losing the popular vote….”
“The poll offers little evidence that any Democrat, including Mr. Biden, has made substantial progress toward winning back the white working-class voters who defected to the president in 2016, at least so far. All the leading Democratic candidates trail in the precincts or counties that voted for Barack Obama and then flipped to Mr. Trump.”
That pretty well sums up the reason that these polls are so diverse, change so much, and bear so many differences. The subsequent cries from Democrats to their minions about how bad their favorite candidates are beating Trump are not happenstance; they are thoroughly thought-out and have been made “talking points” for those on the media edge to spread. Don’t think for a moment that Democrat leadership does not know the peril their party is about to experience.
Further, Democrat Party leadership knew on Election Day in 2000 that their presidential candidate Al Gore was in trouble in the electoral college. They knew John Kerry was upside down in voter support in 2004. They prayed that the intelligence they had in 2016 about Hillary’s absolute win was factual. In each case, the Democrat candidate won the popular vote but lost each election. Why? The Electoral College.
So what do Democrats have for ammunition? I go back to Rep. Al Green, Democrat of Texas, when he said, “We cannot beat President Trump at the polls. We must impeach him.” That’s what they have remaining — ALL they have remaining!
Every conservative begins to sweat when these polls are released that show “a majority of Americans want the President impeached and removed from office.” There’s no need for that worry. Each of those polls is based on popular polling with NO factual election basis. Let me ask you this: how can a polling company reach realistic and accurate results from speaking to only 500-1500 Americans whose opinions are supposed to represent those of 130 million Americans? It’s impossible!
Regarding impeachment: they tried Russia collusion, obstruction of justice, the content of a telephone call with Ukraine’s president, and now they’re back to obstruction of justice again. Why? Yesterday (Monday), multiple White House officials who were subpoenaed to appear for depositions before Adam Schiff’s committee refused to do so. Schiff: “The President is thumbing his nose at the Rule of Law, ignoring the provisions of the Constitution giving Congress oversight authority. The President is obstructing justice, an impeachable offense.” No, Rep. Schiff: it’s called “Executive Privilege.”
And Schiff refuses to allow the whistleblower to testify! Why do they even need the whistleblower? Because they have nothing else with which to use against Mr. Trump that could in any way implicate the President with an impeachable offense.
They’re not done yet: there will be many more. And I hate to give you information that does not paint a rosy 2020 and beyond picture, but even though their impeachment attempts will fail, Democrats will NOT give up. President Trump will win in a landslide, but Democrats will only ramp up their impeachment rhetoric after the election — that is unless Republicans regain House control and maintain the majority in the Senate.
So, voters: who reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will NOT be determined by the Senate in an impeachment trial. It will be determined by the November 2020 election just as it should.
Remember this always: “The Truth will Out.”