New York Times web site on Nov. 8, 2016
Several days ago, this headline ran, much to the delight of CNN and MSNBC anchors, “Fox News poll shows Trump losing to Biden, Warren, Sanders and Harris.” That’s it, then, the race is over. The message to Trump supporters is to give up in despair and leave those MAGA hats in the closet.
1. Fox News didn’t conduct the poll, however, but instead outsourced it to Braun Research Inc as noted in the poll’s methodology.
2. Opinion polls are only as good as their samples. The Fox News poll surveyed registered voters, unlike Rasmussen, which surveys likely voters. Why is that important? CNN reported that only 55 percent of eligible voters actually voted in 2016. An opinion poll that queries the half of the population that doesn’t even bother to vote will be far less accurate than one surveying those most likely to vote.
3. The Fox News poll oversampled Democrats by 8 points, 48 percent of those surveyed identified as Democrats while only 40 percent as Republican. I’m sure the pollsters have a rationale for skewing the sample to the left, perhaps scientific, or else perhaps, to get a result they want.
What do other polls say? Do they support the Fox News poll or cast doubt on its validity?
Rasmussen’s Daily Presidential Tracking poll, on August 16, showed President Trump 3 percentage points higher than President Obama at the exact same point in his presidency, 46 versus 43 percent total approval. Obama was easily reelected to a second term.
Gallup shows Trump with a 41 percent approval rating, exactly the same as Obama in the third year of his presidency. Interestingly, Ronald Reagan was only at 43 percent approval in the third year of his presidency and won a 49-state landslide reelection. In contrast, George H.W. Bush sat at 71 percent approval in his third year and lost reelection.
- Despite the media’s pivot from Russian collusion to white supremacy and racism as the latest attack leveled against the President, “50 percent of Latinos support the job Trump is doing” according to a recent Marist poll.
- Black support, according to Rasmussen, is hovering around 30 percent. In 2016, Trump only received 8 percent of the black vote. If he doubled or tripled his support within this core Democrat constituency, traditional electoral predictions all fly out the window.
This is the landscape before the 2020 presidential campaign has even started. Wait until Trump focuses on the eventual Democrat nominee.