Stories about dropping Republican poll numbers are so predictable among the legacy media that they have become almost as much of a fall tradition as pumpkin carving and the changing of the leaves. Left-leaning journalists take particular delight in using flawed polling to construct distorted narratives to discourage conservative voters from showing up at the voting booth.
Despite recent polling that indicates Republicans are likely to retake the House and have a good shot at retaking the Senate, Democrats and their allies in the legacy media continue to advance phony arguments to suggest Republicans are disadvantaged by things voters don’t care about. For instance, the corporate media continues to relentlessly insist that abortion will “shape the midterms,” despite that issue ranking lower in importance to voters than others such as inflation, crime, and immigration.
This is psychological warfare. It’s part of a broad media strategy to use bad polling to skew the outcome of the midterm elections and suppress conservative voter turnout — and we shouldn’t fall for it.
This comes as no surprise. The Democrats have been weaponizing polling for years, so now both political acolytes and campaigns know there are two distinct kinds of polls: those used internally by campaigns, with a stringent methodology to produce accurate results, and those designed as propaganda for public consumption.
The truth is, many polls aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. Often, unscrupulous firms and candidates put their thumbs on the scales, intentionally using bad polling methodology to get a predetermined outcome. Some media outlets also only cover polls that fit their narrative. Many “mainstream” pollsters oversample college-educated voters and Democrats. But whatever the cause or intent, the pattern is clear.
Just look at 2016, when countless public polls confidently projected Hillary Clinton’s election triumph over Donald Trump — right up until the time election returns started rolling in. Not a single media-sponsored poll called Trump’s Wisconsin victory in the two months before the election, and only one called Michigan correctly. After promising to examine what went wrong, pollsters managed to underestimate Republican strength again in 2018, when the media’s much-hoped-for “blue wave” turned out to be little more than a blue splash.
The pollsters somehow did even worse in 2020. As late as September, Quinnipiac polling showed incumbent Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina tied with challenger Jaime Harrison. But on Election Day, Graham ran away with a 10-point margin of victory. The FiveThirtyEight average, which aggregates polls, projected incumbent Sens. Susan Collins and Joni Ernst would lose their seats by about 2 points. Instead, Collins won by 8.6 points, and Ernst won by 6.6.
It’s not just isolated incidents: Vox found that Republican Senate candidates overperformed their polling averages by 3 points in 2016, 2.5 points in 2018, and a full 5 points in 2020. That doesn’t happen by accident.
Now it looks like 2022 will be no different. According to a recent New York Times elections analysis of flawed polling, “That warning sign is flashing again: Democratic Senate candidates are outrunning expectations in the same places where the polls overestimated Mr. Biden in 2020 and Mrs. Clinton in 2016.”
In Georgia, for example, a Quinnipiac poll released in mid-September showed Republican challenger Herschel Walker trailing incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock by 6 points. Historically, however, Quinnipiac has overestimated Georgia Democrats by 4.6 points, on average. Meanwhile, a more recent poll by the progressive think tank and polling firm Data for Progress shows Walker tied with Warnock at 46 percent.
This is further evidenced by the inclusion of a poll generated by a left-wing pollster from early October and included in the FiveThirtyEight polling average that suggested Democrat Sen. Mark Kelly would win his upcoming bid for reelection by 22 points after winning by just 2.4 percent in 2020.
In any other industry, failing at your job for six years or more would get you fired. But accuracy isn’t the point: It’s propaganda.
Researchers have known for decades about the “bandwagon effect.” When voters know one candidate is clearly in the lead, that candidate continues to surge in popularity. Some voters will flip their votes to be part of the winning candidate, while some supporters of the losing candidate will stay home if they think their vote won’t matter. A 2020 peer-reviewed study ran an experiment to measure the effect and concluded that “seeing pre-election polls increased votes for majority options by 7%.” Pollsters and pundits know this, too — FiveThirtyEight even wrote an article in 2018 about the effect.
That’s the effect of the relentless media coverage of skewed polls: Convince independents to switch to the team that appears to be winning and convince conservatives to stay home. But Republicans and independent-minded conservative voters shouldn’t fall for the left’s real attempt at voter suppression. The stakes are too high; if the left keeps control, they would have two more years to enact more disastrous policies.
The stakes have never been higher. If conservatives take heart and show up, despite the biased polls, they have an opportunity to stop the left’s power grabs in their tracks. The future of secure borders, unborn lives, strong families, and safe communities all hang in the balance.
In the days remaining before the midterm elections, voters should view news about polling with a skeptical eye. History shows we shouldn’t be discouraged by skewed poll numbers. And by the same token, we shouldn’t be lulled into complacency by putting too much trust in polls that project our candidates as winning. Vote as if your future depends upon it because it certainly does.