By Jon Dougherty
(NationalSentinel) Last week, we lambasted a Quinnipiac University poll that not only showed POTUS Donald Trump losing to all six of the top Democratic 2020 presidential contenders, but losing big to former VP Joe “Hands all over America” Biden by double digits.
We noted, among other things, the unlikeliness of candidates like Sen. Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Kamala Harris, most of whom are polling in single digits, of having a real chance against a president whose popularity is rising, has masterminded a fabulous economy, has seen job growth skyrocket, has kept nearly all of the promises he is able to keep (without much help from Congress), and is reasserting U.S. leadership in the world:
In fact, there isn’t a Democrat running who has anything like the kind of record to put up against the president by the time the debates come next year. By then, the president will have had three straight years of economic growth, stock market growth, better and more job creation, and trade deals out the wazoo — including one with China (bet on it).
Not only that, but illegal immigration will have been greatly reduced by then thanks to the just-signed agreement with Mexico (bet on it), more of the wall will be built, and the administration will win major victories at the Supreme Court enabling his agenda to move forward.
We also noted that, well before the 2020 election takes place:
…Americans will finally know all of what the Obama-Biden administration did to try to depose a duly elected president, via Spygate. Might even be some trials taking place by election day next year, or some convictions may have already occurred.
Mostly, we cautioned readers not to be duped into believing any survey this far out because, well, there are months and months ahead of us before the 2020 election and lots of things could happen.
But we also cautioned:
Remember Hillary? She was a shoo-in, too (look how that turned out?).
It turns out that several Democrats also aren’t buying this ‘Biden-by-double-digits’ nonsense, as The Hill reported Friday:
“These same geniuses all predicted that Hillary Clinton was unstoppable and inevitable,” said Chris Kofinis, a Democratic pollster.
While Trump argues the polls undersell his support, some Democrats say surveys showing Biden well ahead of the Democratic field are not to be trusted.
Both sides think a close race in 2020 is likely and that surveys showing Biden and other Democrats with huge leads aren’t likely to reflect Election Day’s reality.
“Anyone who believes that the Democratic candidate is headed for a landslide victory right now is doomed to repeat the tragic history of 2016,” Kofinis said. “It’s a fundamental mistake for anyone to believe that reality can be projected or predicted based on these polls this far out from the general election.”
The doubts surrounding polls underscore the degree to which confidence in the polling industry collapsed in 2016, when much of the public was blindsided by Trump’s victory.
According to another top Dem strategist, “The only thing we need to remember is that every single poll had Hillary Clinton winning and then she lost. I don’t put any stock in any poll, especially right now. I think Trump starts off in a strong position. Can he be beaten? Yes. But we’ll be going up against a machine and a very organized force. Don’t believe anyone who tells you Joe Biden or any Democrat is winning in Texas. That’s crazy. Give me a break.”
There were some polling firms that got it right, including Rasmussen Reports and, believe it or not, the pollsters for the L.A. Times. But most didn’t. That’s because most polling firms were attempting to do what they’ve done for decades: Create news rather than report it.
Nearly every polling firm, especially media-driven polling, was in the tank for Hillary because they would have been in the tank for whomever the Democratic nominee was. And since POTUS Trump was such an unorthodox candidate, nobody really gave him much of a chance.
FiveThirtyEight also dismissed these early polls.
So, just how seriously should we take hypothetical general election polls more than a year out and before the Democratic nominee has been selected?
In the runup to the 2016 presidential election, this same question came up, and FiveThirtyEight analyzed general election polls from 1944 to 2012 that tested the eventual nominees and were conducted in the last two months of the year before the election (so for 2012, that would be November and December of 2011). On average, these polls missed the final result by 11 percentage points.
As for Quinnipiac, at this point in the 2016 campaign cycle Hillary Clinton was also leading Donald Trump by 12 points. Trump was never ahead in that survey, either.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10