Supporters of President Donald Trump do themselves —ourselves — no favors by looking at unfavorable polls and denying reality. Reality must be faced realistically. Polls do occasionally miss by a mile, and they often underestimate conservative strength, but they usually are somewhat useful in gauging trends and electoral prospects. Clearly, when a poll anticipates a winner within a margin of error, its value is less determinative than when it projects a wide margin. And yet the recent spate of national and battleground-state polls augur well for Trump, even where the numbers show Trump behind.
Polls need to be analyzed from many angles: Who comprised the population sample? Did a higher percentage of liberals respond than will comprise the ultimate voting electorate? Is this a poll of all eligible voters — or of likely voters? And how were the questions framed? For example, consider these three ways of asking about impeachment:
So, among other factors, we look at who was polled, who responded, how questions were framed, margins of error, and the past reliability and perceived political orientation, if any, of the particular polling agency.
And here is something new that I have not seen anyone else write about: One should take note of how polling trends in places where voting is not imminent compare to the trending where voting dates are closer. Let me elaborate.
Most Americans do not know what on earth is going on in the world around them. Most are amazingly ignorant. “Watters’ World” is the rule, not the exception, for all demographics. For example, baseball fans would be shocked to know that on the evening of the seventh game of the 2019 World Series, a majority of Americans still had no idea who Max Scherzer is. Or Anthony Rendon. Or Zack Greinke or Gerrit Cole. More to the point, even most avid baseball fans — the kinds who could tell you by heart all 25 names on their favorite team’s roster and their uniform numbers and the positions they play — could not tell you anything close to that about the Houston Astros or Washington Nationals until the World Series rolled around. And then they quickly learned names like Adam Eaton, Will Harris, Yuli Gurriel, Kurt Suzuki, Tanner Rainey, and Chris Devenski. In other words, most people do not focus on “obvious stuff that ‘everyone’ knows” until that stuff becomes imminently relevant to them personally.
Until “stuff” becomes imminently relevant and personal, people do not educate themselves and, when asked to opine, just default to the “common wisdom.” If you live in New York City or San Francisco, the common wisdom is that Trump is a fascist, a dictator, a hater, (i) even a hater of Jews, despite having Orthodox Jews at the center of his family and despite his enormous support for Israel; (ii) even of Blacks and Hispanics, despite proudly beaming that he has reduced Black and Hispanic unemployment to all-time lows and has taken unique steps to advance equality in an American economy and society, where, as he always reminds us, “we all bleed the same red, white, and blue.” People default to the “common wisdom” shared by their clients and patients, customers and friends. They do not want to argue or lose business or friends, and the issue does not imminently matter that much to them personally. Moreover, today’s rules of social repression make it very safe, professionally and socially, to bad-mouth Trump openly — and very dangerous, professionally and socially, to advocate for him. So the “common wisdom” necessarily is skewed. As athletes have learned, bad-mouth Trump or religion or men, and people will buy the razor blades you sell and the sneakers you endorse, leading the companies to pay even millions more to the leftist moronic athletes who endorse them. But praise Trump, and people will boycott your program’s advertisers, boycott your sports team, and cut you off their Christmas card list.
Most people at the office water cooler can tell you with great specificity every detail about the latest mass murder or serial killer. They all know that. Ted Bundy. The Hillside Strangler. Richard Speck. Jodi Arias. OJ. But ask them to describe the Green New Deal’s specifics or whether or not they will lose their private health insurance if Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders get elected and they go blank. They know from the “common wisdom” that “we have to do something about saving the planet,” but they really do not know what they are talking about, and their ignorance becomes manifest if you have the bad manners at work to follow with questions. They do not grasp that “free” government programs will cost them even more than free-market ones because they will be taxed higher to pay for the “free” benefits and will also have to pay the salaries and benefits of a whole new tier of government employees hired to administer the programs — and in the end will have to pay out of pocket to bypass the new logjam. Most fundamentally, they do not know how the Constitution works, how there are three branches of government that are coequal and are supposed to check and balance each other. They have no idea what the House and Senate are supposed to do, why there are two chambers instead of one, or what they are entitled to expect of their elected officials. They honestly do not know how American government works — even “smart” people don’t know how their country functions.
And the idiots? They complain about poverty, street crime and violence, vagrants on the sidewalks, joblessness, failed education, exorbitant taxes — and then, from Chicago to Detroit to Memphis, from Baltimore to St. Louis to Los Angeles, they keep electing the same people, opting decade after decade for the same one-party rule that guarantees that it all will continue getting worse. Idiots.
The public’s ignorance is reinforced by the Corrupt Journalist Corps because that is the 24/7/365 propaganda most people encounter: CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, Google, Facebook. Although Fox News may have more viewers than any other cable news outlet, conservatives fool ourselves by overlooking that Fox News enjoys a near-monopoly on conservative viewers (albeit with some others contending for slivers like America One, BlazeTV, Newsmax TV, and others), while the rest of the many stations run by the Corrupt Journalist Corps reach a combined much wider audience, including the least sophisticated viewers. It is a paradox that the most sophisticated actually know so much that they turn to their ideological stations because they no longer can tolerate the garbage on the other side, while lesser sophisticates just watch whatever is convenient: CNN at the airport and at the dry cleaner, Facebook or Google on the browser, or whichever “news” from CBS or NBC or ABC happens to precede or follow the situation comedy or reality/game show they really care about. And the propaganda follows embedded in the TV shows that are created by the networks and streaming services.
Bottom Line: Pollsters find that 70 percent of Americans prefer “Medicare for All” when initially surveyed. “Sure, let’s guarantee ‘free’ health care for everyone — even those here illegally. It’s only right.” Then, after pollsters follow by asking whether the surveyed person would be OK with losing his or her own private insurer option, support plummets to 37 percent. “What? You mean I can’t have my PPO and will have to lose my family doctor or my long-time pulmonary/coronary/neurological/gastroenterological specialist, and will need to go to some clinic where I get whoever they have on duty that day?” And then when apprised that single-payer government health care also will mean enduring substantially increased waiting times just to see a doctor and brutal scheduling delays to undergo an urgently needed surgery, the results suddenly crash to 26 percent.
The “common wisdom” is that (i) we should not have people dying in the streets; therefore, (ii) we should medically insure everyone, even illegal immigrants. When people thereupon are educated that state laws prohibit even private hospitals from denying care to anyone in mortal danger, barring them from transferring patients to county hospitals until the patients’ conditions have stabilized, people are surprised. “Oh, so that is why we do not see people dying on the streets — from illness — every day. Oh.” And when the matter becomes imminently personal, they start to wise up.
All this leads us to the recent polls of Democrat candidates. Joe Biden continues to maintain a solid lead over his opponents in national polls: Biden at 28, Warren at 20, Sanders at 17 , Buttigieg at 7, O’Rourke at the dentist. Commentators among the Corrupt Journalist Corps interpret those numbers to mean that Biden is running strong, despite gaffes galore like forgetting what he was in the middle of saying, forgetting what city or state he is in, telling people that “we choose truth over facts,” that “poor kids are just as bright and are just as talented as white kids,” repeatedly confusing Theresa May with Margaret Thatcher, referring to shootings in El Paso and Ohio as shootings in Houston and Michigan, saying that “You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent,” or mysteriously saying that he was vice president during the Parkland High School shooting. So he is doing well in national polls, despite being the first candidate for a party’s presidential nomination in American history who arguably already would seem subject to the 25th Amendment.
What does this national polling tell us about the strength of Biden’s candidacy? Nothing.
Why nothing? Because most people are not paying real attention yet to what is going on; they’re just parroting the banal “common wisdom” around them. Thus, O’Rourke was at 11 percent in March. Now he is toast. Kamala Harris was at 15 percent in July. Today she cannot even get her audience to answer her existential question correctly. (Harris: “Is America ready for [me as president]?” Crowd: “No!!!”) So national polling tells little. By contrast, consider the polling trending in imminent states that have primaries coming sooner than the others. In New Hampshire, campaigning now is in full gear; voting is only three months away, on February 11, 2020. The Iowa caucuses are even sooner: February 3. That is where the campaigns now are investing major funds and where even the Green New Deal/anti-meat candidates are ingesting as much State Fair barbecue as their intestines can hold. And what do the imminent state polls show there? In Iowa: Warren at 22, Buttigieg at 17.5, Sanders at 15.8, Biden at 15.5, and O’Rourke getting his ear hairs trimmed. And in New Hampshire: Warren at 25, Biden at 21, Sanders at 20, Buttigieg at 8.7, and O’Rourke at the Urgent Care getting a flu shot.
Why have Warren and Sanders leapfrogged or otherwise virtually tied Biden in states where voting is imminent? Because those are the places where The Ignorant now have begun to take notice as they are bombarded with TV commercials, radio ads, and soon robocalls. Biden tends to free-fall wherever people start paying attention, dropping like an Acme anvil in a Warner Brothers cartoon. Yet again, he is a loser, as he always has been outside Delaware.
And that likewise is why these numbers augur so well for Trump in November 2020. It does not matter now that he is behind 10 points in national polls. Those polls merely reflect the “common wisdom” in an environment where, except for Fox News, only one consistent message is being hammered out in the “news,” communications, and entertainment media — that he is incompetent, dictatorial, must be removed, has no support in his own party, that all his allies are abandoning him. Pure lies and Fake News 24/7/365. Three years of media vomit: Stormy Daniels, Omarosa, Avenatti, Anonymous Op-Eds, Michael Cohen, Mueller, Russian Collusion, Putin’s Russian Asset, Give Us His Taxes. But once Trump finally gets a clearly defined opponent — whether it be Communist Bernie Sanders if he then still can be cleared by doctors to stand for hours on his beloved bread lines (“[Bread lines are] a good thing!”), or the pathologically lying Faux-cahontas (“I think I’ll have me a beer”), or Joe Biden losing a thought mid-sentence to ask, “Uh, where was I?” or later asking his campaign staff more basically “Where am I?” — the polls will shift.
Even more importantly, it will be during the last two or three months before the November 2020 election when the Trump presidential campaign and the associated Republican congressional campaigns and Senate campaigns will start advertising and campaigning heavily for 10 or 12 weeks so that, for the first time in four years, people start getting exposed equally to the other side of the coin. As The Ignorant suddenly start paying attention through those final few weeks when elections become imminent and personal, they will get serious and ask themselves whether or not they want to return to an Obama–Venezuela economy of $528 million Solyndra collapses, non-existent “shovel-ready jobs,” and evaporating opportunity with endless excuses. They will contemplate whether Bernie Trotsky, Princess Speaking Bull, or Joe, Uh, Biden is the person they want in the Oval Office to protect them and their loved ones from the mullahs of Iran as those murderous Islamist butchers move toward nuclear weapons, the Dough Boy in North Korea, and the trade crooks in China. They may even contemplate how Obama did with ISIS as compared to Trump. Swing-district voters will look hard at the Democrat congressional representatives on whom they gambled two years earlier, lured by promises that these would be a different kind of Democrat who solemnly promised not to vote for Nancy Pelosi to be House Speaker but instead would go to Washington to fix health care, and will ask themselves what exactly they got for their switching parties except for two years of endless paralyzing investigations that resulted in little but the ancillary discovery of an Iron Cross tattoo in a frontal area under the underwear of Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.), clarifying perhaps why she ran in a “Swing” District.
We saw this poll game happen with Obama — down in the low 40s a year before beating Mitt Romney. We saw it when Trump beat Hillary in 2016. We saw it with Reagan. And with Trump already leading or running neck and neck in the key battleground states now, even before he and the GOP have unleashed the campaign avalanche and barrage that will start next August, Trump backers have reason to be encouraged by current polling.