In just a few weeks we’ll know if history repeats itself by correcting actual voter preference numbers.
With polls sometimes going one way, and with results sometimes going another way, do you ever get the feeling that someone out there is bi-poller?
In 2016, Republican Pat Toomey was facing off against Democrat Katie McGinty for United States Senate from Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is a blue Northeastern state — part of the impenetrable blue wall. The Real Clear Politics (RCP) average of polls going into Election night had McGinty winning by 2.0 points at 45.0 to 43.0. In fact, Toomey won by 48.9 to 47.3. Or, as Hillary would say, Toomey won the popular vote. (And his name is the opposite of #MeToo!)
In 2016, Republican Todd Young was facing off against Democrat Evan Bayh for United States Senate from Indiana. The Bayh family have had a long and successful record in Indiana politics. The Real Clear Politics (RCP) average of polls going into Election night had the two candidates within less than a point’s difference from each other. In fact, Todd Young won by nearly ten points: 52.1 to 42.4. Or, as Hillary would say, Young won the popular vote.
In 2016, Republican Ron Johnson was facing off against Democrat Russ Feingold for United States Senate from Wisconsin. Feingold had been a very successful candidate for the U.S. Senate before. For months, every single poll had Feingold winning. Well, OK — only 30 out of 31 predicted a Feingold victory. The Real Clear Politics (RCP) average of polls going into Election night had Feingold winning by 2.7 points at 47.0 to 44.3. In fact, Johnson won by 50.2 to 46.8, a margin of 3.4 points. Or, as Hillary would say, Johnson won the popular vote.
See where this is going? Republican Senator Roy Blunt won in Missouri two years ago by more than twice the margin (2.8 points) that the RCP average predicted for him (1.3 points) against Democrat Jason Kander. Republican Marco Rubio, fresh off a tough primary contest with Donald Trump, was challenged by Democrat Patrick Murphy for the Florida Senate seat. RCP’s average had Rubio winning by 3.7 points. He actually won by more than twice that margin: 7.7 points. And Republican Richard Burr defeated Democrat Deborah Ross for the North Carolina Senate seat by 5.7 points — even though the RCP average had him by only 2.0. All comfortably wider Republican margins than predicted by the polls.
Those were the tough ones, the tight United States Senate races of 2016. All too often, for whatever reason — and, despite legitimate contempt for the Seedier Media — maybe the reason for polling misses is not always sinister but enigmatic. Often, for whatever the reason, they underestimate the Republican advantage. Maybe they get their polling percentages right as among the people whom they survey — how Catholics will vote, Methodists, Episcopalians, Christians, Jews; how Blacks will vote, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, Caucasians, and Elizabeth Warren. How seniors will vote, Millennials, incoherents, Illegals. And then, having gotten the percentages right, perhaps they underestimate how many of the Republicans among them actually will turn out or overestimate Democrat turnout. Maybe they overestimate the number of felons, banned from voting, who will break out of prison on Election Day to cast ballots for their favored Democrats. Or the vaunted Epitaph Vote: the number of dead people in Chicago who will cast votes in Windy City cemeteries or the others dying to help Al Franken steal an election in Minnesota as long as he keeps his busy hands busy stuffing ballot boxes instead of.…
As we move towards the 2018 midterms, we do have to acknowledge that some polls might be almost right. No one benefits by disregarding the polls outright. But the pollsters do have a documented frequent tendency to underestimate Republican chances. Maybe they really believe that married Caucasian women this year really will vote the way their narrative predicts that “all women” monolithically will vote. Maybe all women (except for the ones in my synagogue congregation) really believe that Christine Blasey Ford put a second front door into her house because of claustrophobia (and just-so-happened to find a renter soon after who liked the idea of renting a claustrophobia-free place that coincidentally offered a separate entrance and exit) and really does hate all that flying she does for fun and sun. Maybe all Caucasian married women really want ranking member Maxine Waters to chair the House Committee on Financial Services. Indeed, what Caucasian married woman in America does not wear a button that says “Please, Maxine, Destroy My Family’s Finances”? Surely, we all know scores of married Caucasian women who leave their children behind every day, and call in sick from work, so that they dutifully can carry out Maxine’s charge to her legions to go out harassing people at gas stations, restaurants, and movie theaters. That appeals to women voters: Eric Holder urging them to kick Republicans. Cory Booker urging them to get in Republicans’ faces. And Hillary telling them that the only thing holding them back is that their husbands and sons control their minds and tell them how to vote.
Maybe the pollsters correctly gauge that college-educated suburban Caucasians and African Americans and Latinos and Asian Americans and Gays and Straights really want to return to an Obama pseudo-economy that never exceeded 2 percent GDP growth because — as President Trump always has feared — they just are sick-and-tired of winning. With two years of a robust economy, deregulation of the Obama strangleholds on business, expansion of energy exploration from hydraulic fracturing to ANWR leading to American energy independence, strengthening and complete rebuilding of the United States military, revamping healthcare for veterans, moving the American Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, staring down North Korea and stopping the Doughboy’s missile launchings, staring down Vladimir Putin and arming Ukrainians as Obama never did, destroying the ISIS caliphate in Raqqa, forcing NATO countries to pony up on their payments before America withdraws from protecting their derrieres, successfully renegotiating NAFTA by inducing Mexico to agree to new terms that advantage American workers and then leaving Trudeau with no choice but to back down and agree likewise to America’s terms of renegotiation, pulling out of the ridiculous Paris Climate Accord that allowed everyone to sit back and watch American industry handcuff itself and allow our jobs to go to China, India, and other emerging powers; and walking out of the perilous Iran Deal — maybe suburbanites really are getting disgusted with and nauseated by winning so much. Tax cuts, pride in the flag, security at the border — these are the kinds of frightful apparitions of the impending Halloween season for those who truly are tired of winning. If only we could have a return to Hillary and Benghazi, Eric Holder and “Fast and Furious,” Susan Rice and her television interviews attributing the 9-11 Benghazi massacres to a YouTube video that only she and Hillary saw — and Susan returning to glory by hailing Bo Bergdahl for his “distinguished” service. If only we could return to Lois Lerner weaponizing the IRS to use tax levies and withdraw tax accreditations based on politics, return to Loretta Lynch meeting with #MeToo Bill at the tarmac to pervert justice while a corrupt FBI upper-echelon made a mockery of investigation and justice when they confronted Hillary’s felonious spoliation of evidence during the scandal over her bathroom computer server.
Maybe the pollsters correctly gauge that voters miss the days when we were losing our manufacturing base to China and India. Maybe they have identified blocs of voters who are nervous that, in the event of a serious war, we now are assured that we always will have a thriving steel and aluminum industrial base at home. Maybe they felt more comfortable knowing that, in war time, we always could rely on other countries to divert all their aluminum and steel to us. Like, why would Great Britain or Japan or Germany give themselves priority over America in supplying aluminum and steel during war time? Maybe the pollsters have identified power voting districts of people who can’t stand winning the re-shaping of the federal judiciary to reflect a respect for the Constitution as it is written and as it was conceived by our Founders. Maybe the suburban voters rue the reduction of judges who basically skip over the Constitution, ignore precedent, defy stare decisis, and just wake up in the morning and decide: “Here’s the new law I am going to legislate today from the bench — and then I will issue a nationwide injunction coercing every other court in America to follow the great idea that I came up with over my organic corn flakes and almond milk.” Maybe the suburbans and rural voters, the educated and the uneducated, the men and the women really want the whole country to turn into California Without the Great Weather — a haven marked by no plastic straws, no plastic bags, $3.85-a-gallon gasoline, state income taxes at 13 percent, homeless enclaves all over the state, feces and urine on the streets, public outbreaks of diseases like typhus more commonly associated with the Third World, and a one-party statewide government that offers the kind of stellar leadership demonstrated at the recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearings held to confirm Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. After all, what state’s voters would not wish that they, too, could have a choice for United States Senate in two weeks between Dianne Feinstein and Kevin Leon (who recently changed his name to DeLeón for the benefit of the Hispanic voters)? Maybe there is a wave of voters breathlessly panting for their homes to become Sanctuary Cities, too, where Illegals can return again and again — after being deported again and again — and , sooner or later, kill someone innocent like a Kate Steinle… and then have a jury let them off.
Jealous of us, huh? Well, go suck on a plastic straw.
But there does seem to be some hope. Back in the days before the Democrats fretted over the Trump campaign colluding with Russia to impact our elections — that is, back in the days when Hillary’s campaign was colluding with the Russians to impact our elections so that she would win — the Obama-Kerry Administration funneled hundreds of thousands in federal funds secretly to Israel in collusion with Israeli Leftists to overturn their free elections. And the polls predicted that the Obama-Kerry Leftists would defeat the Likud coalition headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Obama-Kerry secretly sent in our tax money to pay for busing anti-Netanyahu voters in Israel to the balloting locations. They paid for polling, volunteers. It was among the most remarkable efforts ever by a country secretly to collude with the insurgents of another country to overthrow their freely elected leaders at the ballot box. The polls predicted a Leftist win. Instead, Netanyahu’s Likud coalition won handily.
It is not clear why polls predicted wrongly that the Obama-Kerry-collusion Left in Israel would defeat the centrist-conservative Likud. Nor why the polls wrongly predicted that the conservative British vote for Brexit would lose to the voters who wanted to remain under European Union hegemony. Nor, for that matter, why the 2016 American polls wrongly predicted the outcomes of the United States Senate races in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Florida, and North Carolina. But it is imperative that Republicans be heartened by this look-back at our bi-poller media survey history, and not be persuaded that a blue wave is as inevitable as a modest red wave in the Senate race and a holding action in the House. No real way to know.
For upright law-abiding Latinos — legal immigrants in our country and legitimate green-card holders — are we sure that they all want to see a mob of 4,000 from Guatemala storm our borders and compete for their jobs, reducing the rate of their wages, driving them out of work? Are we sure that all hard-working Latino and Asian-American entrepreneurs want to give up their Republican tax cuts — for which every Democrat voted no — and abandon their future Republican tax cuts, and have government regulations reimposed on their businesses? Are we sure that all Asian-Americans want another round of Obama-style judges stacked into the federal judiciary so that new admissions quotas can be legalized to keep Asian-Americans and their children and their children’s children out of Harvard and Yale and Princeton and the whole bunch of the Poison Ivy League? Is that really what they all want?
Do allMillennials want to go back to unemployment and begging for unpaid internships in an economy that can offer them no gainful work and no meaningful hope for advancement in their lifetimes? Sure, Obama was really, really cool. He would walk down airplane stairways without holding the rails — very, very cool. And he would have these amazingly cool rappers entertain at the White House, cool druggies with lyrics about killing police officers or burning Presidents. Very, very cool. And — OMG! — how cool was it that he tangoed while terrorist bombs were exploding in Europe? But now that the Obamas took the Millennials for a ride, entering as “community organizers” and leaving them all behind while now standing among the world’s richest multi-millionaires preaching wealth redistribution, are all Millennials of one mind that they had and will have a better future awaiting them under a regime of no jobs, lotsa food stamps, and the Obamacare Individual Mandate?
In a fortnight we will know whether we are polls apart and whether Americans really are sick and tired of winning. Because if they are, the good news for them is that Nancy Pelosi is ready to emerge from mothballs and lead Congress again, and Maxine is ready to be chair of Financial Services. Truly a choice to test the wisdom of the American people.
John Podesta at Hillary Clinton campaign gathering on Election night 2016 (Voice of America/Wikimedia Commons)