All Polls Are Wrong



The phrase "all polls are wrong" was a cool hinge-point of argument last year, as the Trump train rolled on ...

Yesterday a Democrat penned an interesting article at The Hill. It didn't say that "all polls are wrong," but that surveys of President Trump's popularity in the USA are flawed and in no way indicative. In other words ... Why the polls are still wrongHere's a few excerpts from the article:


The polls that failed to detect the full strength of President Trump on Election Day continue to underestimate the president’s support for the job he is doing, paying way too much attention to the Twitter wars and ignoring the public support for many of the actions is undertaking.

This can create some serious misjudgments by organizations like the NFL and some Republican senators, who find out later that they buck the president only to their own detriment. And nothing was more devastating to Democrats than believing the election was over when it wasn’t.

Polls show the president’s approval rating all over the lot. An Associated Press poll put it at 32 percent and suggests that only 24 percent see the country as going in the right direction. This strains credulity given what happened in the special elections against the Democrats.


The methodology of some of these polls is to poll “all adults” without any qualification as to citizenship or voting intent. A lot of the nonvoters dislike politics and all politicians, and these polls also include them along with undocumented immigrants who are not screened out. Another group of polls has Trump’s approval in the low 40s, and Harvard-Harris Poll, which eliminates all undecideds, has it at 45 percent, similar to Rasmussen.

Remember, Americans liked President Obama for his way with words and his calm leadership style. They just opposed many of his policies, so Obama’s numbers gave a false sense of approval. Trump is the mirror opposite. People are put on edge by his words while favoring a lot of the positions he is taking on issues.

When it comes to rank-and-file Republican voters, Trump is the undisputed leader of the Republican Party. No poll I’ve seen puts his support from Republicans at below 80 percent and we at Harvard-Harris have it at 84 percent, which is remarkable, given his knock-down-drag-out fight with some mainstream Republicans.


The failure to understand the 2016 election was in large measure not a failure of the final polls, many of which showed a close race, but a failure to understand the powerful storyline of Trump’s appeal with his respect for cops and the military, taking a more aggressive position against our enemies, and pushing for tax and health-care reform. His style is not what won him the presidency. It was, remarkably, his substance.

I, frankly, didn’t at the time see his rise in the Republican primary as realistic. I don’t believe he has advanced his coalition from Election Day, and rank-and-file Democratic opposition has hardened. But he hasn’t lost his support either, and taking on “The Swamp” only empowers him further.

It is by watching the underlying public sentiment of what he is doing, and not his methods, that you see how polling better watch out here, as reality versus research will again be tested, and reality always wins.

Mark Penn is co-director of the Harvard-Harris Poll and was a pollster for Bill Clinton during six years of his presidency.

The Penn article also received some pushback, in this instance from Philip Bump of the fey canoes Washington Post: Why is a former Clinton pollster writing iffy poll analysis that panders to Trump supporters?


It’s true both that Trump is broadly unpopular (as measured by multiple opinion polls) and that there are positions he espouses that are popular. We will cede that since, well, it’s sort of obvious. We will also cede the point that Republicans broadly think Trump is doing a good job, something that has been noted any number of times by The Washington Post and others.

As Penn makes that point, though, he goes out of his way to include weird cultural touchstones that seem clearly intended to appeal to that Trump base.

For example, this is how Penn dismisses polling that shows Trump as unpopular:

The methodology of some of these polls is to poll “all adults” without any qualification as to citizenship or voting intent. A lot of the nonvoters dislike politics and all politicians, and these polls also include them along with undocumented immigrants who are not screened out.

There are two implications here. The first is that somehow people who don’t vote don’t get to have an opinion on the president. The second is that the number of people who reject the president is swollen by undocumented immigrants. At most, undocumented immigrants represent 3 percent of the population, a group that’s less likely to speak English and almost certainly not registered to vote. To suggest that they make up a significant portion of the responses to a poll is disingenuous.

“The president gets 65 percent approval for hurricane response and 53 percent approval for the economy and fighting terrorism,” Penn writes as he fleshes out “a more complex picture” of opinions on Trump. “He gets his lowest marks for the way he is administering the government. And he is a divider when people want a uniter.”

This is deliberately playing down how low Trump’s numbers are

Here's a snapshot from the folks at 538:



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4 hours ago, william.scherk said:

All polls are wrong, I say.  Some polls are more wrong than others. Here, former 538 contributor Harry Enten proclaims a new Narrative:

Trump's favorite pollster was the least accurate in the midterms


Why that must mean that the mainstream polls are practically always right, right?

I mean, Trump doesn't have a clue, right?

It's a wonder he even got to be President with what little he knows...

:evil:  :) 


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All polls are wrong.  With 279 days left until Iowans troop off to the caucus meetings, the 'horse-race' reporting is already feverish. Does anyone really think present polling is indicative?  I doubt it, but the business of sounding public opinion is not going to run out of clients.

With that in mind, this is supposedly worrisome news for the GOP in November 2020 -- five hundred and fifty three days from now. SMH.

ABCNews/Washington Post poll ...

As in 2018, Health Care Ranks Among Trump’s 2020 Challenges


[...] Americans by a 17-point margin say [Trump's] handling of health care makes them more likely to oppose than to support him for a second term.

That result in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll marks one of many challenges for Trump as he seeks re-election. The Mueller report and his immigration policies are substantial negatives as well. As reported Friday, his overall popularity is low; just 39 percent approve of his work in office. And 55 percent flatly rule out voting for him next year.



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I am thoroughly tired of the horse-race/Groundhog Day reporting of public opinion -- as if the horses run the race freshly each day of soundings.  There are two hundred and sixty two days until the first minivan is loaded for the Iowa caucuses. Gah.

As you can imagine the hoopla-industry is touting this meaningless poll:

Fox News Poll: Biden booms, Bernie fades


Trump slumps in head-to-head matchups - Fox News: “Biden also performs best in hypothetical 2020 matchups. Among all registered voters, he leads Trump by 11 points (49-38 percent), up from a 7-point advantage in March. Biden’s is the only lead outside the margin of sampling error in the matchups tested -- and he is the only Democrat to push Trump’s support below 41 percent. Sanders tops Trump by 5 points (46-41 percent) and Warren is up by two (43-41 percent), while Harris ties Trump (41-41 percent) and Buttigieg trails him by one (40-41 percent). The president’s reelect number holds steady at 38 percent, while 54 percent would back someone else if the 2020 presidential election were today.  In December, it was 38-55 percent.”


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