Polls Suddenly Looking Different Now That Trump Sealed the Deal?

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

One poll does not a trend make.

But this poll jumped off the page (screen) when I saw it.

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Yep. Susquehanna shows President Joe Biden beating Donald Trump by more than 7 points, at least if the election were held today.

In 2020 the election was decided by 1 point, and that was before the past 3 years of failures have driven Joe Biden’s approval rating into the toilet.

So what’s going on? Is this a bad poll? A biased poll? An outlier–even pollsters will tell you that 1 out of 5 polls are just wrong, and the margin of error is almost 4%.

But geez, that is a shocking poll.

I checked on the reliability of Susquehanna as a pollster at RealClearPolitics, and it rates reasonably highly and most of its errors favor Republicans. The average divergence from the final election results is not great, but not awful at 2.6%–within the MoE. That’s less than half the error rate of Rassmussen.

A lot of Trump skeptics in the social media world are reminding people that they predicted the polls would shift dramatically once Trump locked up the nomination, and they predicted it based on the Establishment wanting to run against Trump–boosting him during the primaries, then trashing him once he is locked in.

Perhaps. But one poll does not a trend make. It really could be an outlier.

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The worst case of course, for Republicans is that the poll is accurate, which seems unlikely. Biden might or might no be up in Pennsylvania, but he is almost certainly not up by 7+ points.

Trump, as a known quantity about whom people have rather fixed opinions, couldn’t climb that steep a hill unless the economy blows up or Biden has a stroke. That is a polling deficit for somebody who is effectively an incumbent running against an incumbent is almost insurmountable.

In general, the state polls are less rosy for Trump than national ones–indicating that Trump has gained support in many places where it doesn’t matter–the electoral college votes aren’t in play.

Or, perhaps, indicating that polling has been juiced–the national polls inflate Trump’s support.

Who knows?

All I know is that the polls bear watching–if a bunch of implausible outliers start popping up that suggests that either the earlier polls were juiced, the current ones are, or both. A massive shift in public opinion seems quite unlikely in such a short period of time. It’s not like some startling new information has dropped–everybody expected Trump to be the candidate.

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At this point in the game, I am keeping my mind open. This could be a simple blip that will get washed away by subsequent polling.

But if not, tough questions should be asked. Nobody should believe that Trump’s numbers will suddenly drop like a rock for no obvious reason.

I sure don’t.

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David Strom 2:30 PM | July 20, 2024
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