Early Polls and Trump

Posted By Elgin Hushbeck

A constant theme in recent press coverage is how all the Polls show Biden winning the election. There are three main issues with polls.  The first is polls can be manipulated by how the question is phrased, and the ordering of the questions. But in this case, I think that is a minor issue.

The second is more significant. Polls track public opinion, which is strongly affected by press coverage, particularly for those who only casually follow events. Several studies have shown the coverage of Trump by the major media is about 90% negative.  Granted, Trump has a casual relationship with the truth. Still, the vast majority of his problems center around boasting and hyperbole. These are easy to adjust for.  The media also has a big problem with the truth, but it is much harder to adjust for.

For example, before COVID, Trump was fact-checked false, for saying the black unemployment was the lowest in history.  Ok, I thought, the truth is probably black unemployment is really low, which it was at the time.  I happen to stumble across something recently commenting on this “fact-check,” which was that Trump’s statement was considered false because the data have only been broken down this way since the 1970s. In short, he should have said lowest on record, rather than lowest in history.  Do you honestly think other politicians are held to this standard? Of course not. The same fact-checker declined to fact-check Obama’s and Biden’s absurd statements that they had a scandal-free administration. Why? Because what is and is not a scandal is subjective. Double-standard?

Then there are the three years of the near-daily falsehoods that were Trump/Russia hoax.  This hoax was the creation of the still-emerging Obamagate scandal.  You can add to this the press’s current ongoing attempts to hide Obamagate, which I believe is far more serious than Watergate. But the press’s lies go beyond that, and here are a few other examples, old and new.

Following Charlottesville, it was widely reported Trump said there were good neo-Nazis and white supremacists, a charge that continues to this day.  If you read the transcript or listen to the tape, he said, “you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.” He did say those words, but he was talking about the issue of should statues be taken down. I believe Trump is factually correct in this.  He then went on to say about removing the statuses,

“So you know what, it’s fine. You’re changing history. You’re changing culture. And you had people — and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists — because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists. Okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly.”  

Yet the media ignored this part of what Trump said and reported that he said there were good neo-Nazis.  In short, they lied.

This is not a one-off.  Recently there were reports of how the “peaceful demonstrators” were tear-gased so the President could have a “photo-op.” Yet the peaceful demonstrators sent eleven police officers to the hospital and did a lot of property damage.  Whether or not “tear-gas” was used depends on whether one classifies pepper spray with the more common forms of Tear gas. Meanwhile, Democrats taking a knee in the rotunda, is “a tribute” to George Floyd.  

Then there were all the reports that Trump said George Floyd would be happy about the recent job numbers. Like his comments following Charlottesville, this was the result of carefully editing Trump’s remarks to change the context.  He was talking about the unity in the country demanding equal justice under the law.  Again here is what he actually said.

Equal justice under the law must mean that every American receives equal treatment in every encounter with law enforcement, regardless of race, color, gender or creed, they have to receive fair treatment from law enforcement. They have to receive it. We all saw what happened last week. We can’t let that happen. Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying, “This is a great thing that’s happening for our country.” This is a great day for him. It’s a great day for everybody. This is a great day for everybody. This is a great, great day in terms of equality. It’s really what our constitution requires and it’s what our country is all about.

In short, the major media will ignore completely anything Trump does or says that is good. If there is any ambiguity in his statements or actions, they will use that ambiguity to cast them into the worst possible light. When that isn’t enough they will just lie about what he says and simply make things up. Even when the story is not about him, they will twist it so that they can condemn him. And this is where most people get what they know about Trump.  It even catches me in at times. Several times, I believed the press and only later found out they had lied.

Granted, Trump is often his own worst enemy, and there are times the media does not have to make things up.  But frankly, he has gotten much better over his time as President. Meanwhile the media, and the Democrats,  have gotten much worse. So, of course, this shows up in the polls, which at the moment are still more how do you view Trump than who you will vote for.

This has been the case for most of my life. While it is far worse now, the press has always been biased in favor of the Democrats.  As such, the Republican candidate for President is normally behind in the poll at this point.  Bush was behind Dukakis by 17 points at this point of the race. The Polls always tighten the closer you get to the election, for the press becomes less important, and people focus more on the issues.  Again I believe the choice will become clear and will be binary. (Yes, there will be third parties, but they rarely matter, and when they do it is as a spoiler). Trump or the Democratic nominee are the only effective choices.  It will be Trump’s record vs. their promises. Trump’s record is strong and is much stronger than I would have thought when he became President.

Finally, one of the major fears today is fear of the left.  Fall into their crosshairs, and you can lose your friends, family, even your job, as the editors at the NY Times found out.  Thus, many Trump supporters keep it hidden, even from pollsters. I know, I have talked to them. For Polls, this is a well know problem sometimes referred to as the Bradley effect, named after a candidate for Governor in California.

The polls in 2016 showed Clinton easily winning, but she lost.  I do not believe many of the people that voted for Trump 2016 (or perhaps more correctly voted against Clinton) will now vote for Biden or any other Democrat they are likely to nominate. I do know of people who did not vote for Trump last time who will vote for him this time. Even some of the former Never Trumpers will vote for him. In short, his support has grown. He will win all the red states he did last time, and the election will come down to Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. He only needs to win one.  It is very possible he will win all three and possibly a few more. 

After all, are the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and  Defund the Police, really winning campaign slogans?  Is setting up an independent country in the middle of Seattle going to inspire people? People normally vote economics, and the economic conditions are very likely to be in pretty good shape come November. The unemployment rate was suppose to still be going up, yet it is already dropping rapidly, and the Stock Market is nearly back to its pre-COVID Highs.  But voting one’s pocketbook assumes there are no security concerns, and the Democrats are on the wrong side of that issue at the moment.  After all, is it really just a coincidence that the majority of these problems are in areas that Democrats have run for decades?  

So yes,  I think Trump will win in November, and I don’t think the polls matter much at the moment. Could he lose, sure, a lot can happen between now and the election. But as things look now, it is looking really good for Trump.

Jul 17th, 2020

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