President Donald Trump tweeted on Monday morning his belief that news organizations were purposely touting errant numbers from polls in an effort to suppress the voters from going to the polls when he runs for re-election in 2020.
Trump did not provide any evidence in his tweet showcasing that the news agencies were being negligent or malicious on purpose, nor did he demonstrate that the polls they had been citing were wrong. The president’s complaints also suggested that the agencies had done the same thing in 2016, when Trump won his first term in office, although the numbers from polls at that time were actually accurate in terms of the final popular vote count.
“Here we go with the Fake Polls. Just like what happened with the Election against Crooked Hillary Clinton,” Trump tweeted out.
He accused NBC, ABC, CBS, the New York Times, and the Washington Post of “getting the polls wrong, on purpose,” supposedly to stifle voting efforts of his supporters.
“Suppression Polls so early? They will never learn!” Trump added.
There’s no evidence to back up the president’s claims at this time, as polls can only be “prove” accurate when an election happens. However, Trump’s major assumption, that polling organizations and the news agencies that disseminated or sponsored their work “got it wrong” in 2016, is deeply flawed.
The site Real Clear Politics produces an average of the last 10 polls it collects for every poll it follows. Based on the last 10 polls of the 2016 presidential election, the prediction was that Trump would lose to Clinton by 3.2 percentage points. The final popular vote count had Clinton winning by around 2.1 percent, which, in terms of polling, is indicative of a very close predictive model.
In fact, none of the polls or news organizations cited by Trump in his tweet on Monday were technically wrong in their final prediction. Trump won the Electoral College, and thus the presidency, but the polls were measuring the popular vote outcome — each and every organization Trump complained about predicted Clinton to be the popular vote winner, and did so within their polls’ respective margins of error.
Any polling conducted is merely a snapshot in time — and polling for 2020 is too early to conclusively predict who will win in that year’s presidential races. As of this date, however, seven of the last 10 polls on Real Clear Politics, pitting Trump against different possible Democratic challengers, demonstrates he would lose the popular vote once again were the election to be held today.
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Chris Walker is a freelance writer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. A millennial with more than a decade of journalism experience, Chris aims to provide readers with the latest and most accurate news of national importance. Chris likes to spend his free time doing activities in his community with his family.