Republican presidential candidate may be repeating the same mistake Mitt Romney made four years ago which led him to believe he would win the elections. Just like Romney, Trump believes polls showing him trailing behind his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton are lying.
And just like Romney, the real estate tycoon thinks that his internal polls show the reality because the rest of the surveys make a fatal mistake: they “oversample” Democrats.
Surprisingly, conservatives used the “oversampling” argument in the 2012 elections too. But back then, they had a shock when their candidate lost to Barack Obama despite what their polls showed.
Trump recently said that when pollsters do their jobs and “leave [polls] alone,” he is leading. But if those who conduct polls are polling Democrats, it is no wonder the Republican nominee is “down.”
“They’re polling Democrats. The system is corrupt and it’s rigged and it’s broken,”
Oversampling in 2012 Elections
In 2012, conservatives said a similar thing, citing an “oversampling” conspiracy for Democrats. They strongly believed that polls lied and that Romney led Obama by a lot. For instance, the right-leaning Breitbart News site wrote in 2012 that polls “again” oversample Democrats. The website underscored that the practice was about to become “a routine.”
Another conservative site, unskewedpolls.com, even calculated how media polls would look if Republicans had equal representation. The results showed that Romney led Obama by a 3 to 11-point margin.
Fox News analysts said that despite what polls show Romney would win the presidential elections with 325 electoral votes to his rival’s 213. Weeks before the Election Day, a Fox News analyst said the election result would be the “biggest surprise in recent American political history.”
The pundit also said the results would make people wonder why the media had portrayed the race as “nail-biting” when, in reality, Romney was going to win by a large margin. In the end, Obama accrued 332 electoral votes, while the Republican Party’s nominee earned 206. But the “oversampling” conspiracy is ongoing.
Oversampling Makes a Comeback
This summer, “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy set forth the theory once again. Doocy said that ABC and Washington Post polls showing Clinton ahead of Trump by 12 points are biased. In the Fox commenter’s view, those 12 points were, in fact, an extra 12 percent of Democrat respondents. Doocy also thinks Gallup polls are faulty since they show there are 3 percent more Democrats in the U.S. than Republicans.
On the other hand, experts made it clear that the number of Democrats or Republicans in a poll does not always match party registration. So, not every poll that shows more Democrats than they appear on the party’s lists is necessarily biased.
Pollsters often sample people based on their political self-identification regardless of whether party registration backs their claims. In some U.S. states, party registration data is not even public.
One analyst noted that we currently don’t know whether 45 percent of the country is Democrat, and 30 percent Republican. The numbers are “fluid” because many lifelong Democrats or Republicans may not like their parties any longer. So, they claim they’re independent in polls, the expert explained.
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