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Polls Understating Lead of Donald Trump

Updated on November 7, 2016

Trump may be more formidable than believed

The lead by Donald Trump in the polls among Republican voters may be more than surveys suggest, according to Morning Consult, a polling and market research company, underscoring the fact polling has become controversial and politicized over the last couple of years, as the accuracy of them have been dismal in some cases, not reflecting the outlook and voting results of the electorate.

A recent case in point was the race for Kentucky governor, where the candidate running as a Democrat was shown to have a lead in every poll but an Internet poll right before the election, yet was was soundly defeated by the Republican winner in the election.

In the case of Trump, part of the problem apparently has arisen from the variance in accuracy between polls done by phone and polls done over the Internet, said Morning Consult. That being the case, it appears this could be a pattern because of the same results occurring in the Kentucky governor race.

What's puzzling is why don't the polling companies go with the Internet method, which is proving more accurate, instead of continuing on with inaccurate phone polls, which for some reason seem to be favoring the Democrats and some Republicans in regard to their outrage over the outsider Trump dictating the narrative.

Will it be President Trump?


Are surveys fixed or is it poor methodology?

From the GOP side, online surveys show Trump with getting support from about 40 percent of voters. When phone surveys are used, the amount of support plummets to less than 33 percent, and in some cases less than that.

After doing some research on the anomaly, Morning Consult concluded the reason for the significant disparity in support probably is the result of those supporting Trump not feeling comfortable with saying so when talking directly with a person. On the other hand, when being able to answer anonymously, they answer more honestly. This is more true with Trump supporters with a college education.

There is another reason which is more ominous and has the potential to be abused by those pollsters having a political agenda.

Voter participant assumptions

One of the methods used by pollsters to make a decision on the percentage of voters likely to vote for a candidate, is an assumption made upon how many voters from either party may be taking part in the voting.

This is one of the areas I see there being a strong possibility of mischief taking place.

In the Kentucky governor race, it was concluded by some (follow bottom link above) that this is what caused the discrepancy in results versus predictions. That is an understatement.

The Republican that won the race not only won it, but he demolished the Democrat that was said to be ahead in every poll but one. Not only does this give a false sense of security to the alleged leader, who may make decisions based upon the presumed lead, but it could also have an impact on voters, who may decide to not go to the polls if they believe their candidate has no chance.

This is why it's so important to look at these things closely, and to go out and vote no matter what the polls say. They simply can't be trusted any longer.

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Implications for Hillary

There's reason why Trump has been castigated in the mainstream media, and that is because he's been setting the political agenda and is a serious threat to be reckoned with when he battles it out against Hillary Clinton.

What has to be exasperating to Hillary is the uncertainty over the accuracy of the polls. According to some polls, Trump has been gaining ground against her, and with others she allegedly has a double-digit lead against Trump.

Going back to the Kentucky governor's race again, Bevin won by over 9 percentage points against Conway, with Conway, as mentioned, shown to have a lead up to the very last poll conducted before the election. That suggests no lead can be assumed to be accurate, and even a big lead very suspect.

Trump of course has to win the Republican nomination before being officially considered a presidential candidate, but unless there are some obstructions placed in his way by the Republican political machinery, that is almost a guarantee for him.

Other Republican candidates

Another issue from the Republican side is the position other candidates have in the race for president.

For example, Carson and Rubio in a direct confrontation with Clinton are shown to be in the lead against her. I have trouble with those results because it's obvious to me it's in the best interests of the Clinton campaign for Trump to be defeated before he goes head-to-head against her.

The point is polls could be geared toward finding another candidate besides Trump, which could easily be done by presenting opponents that supposedly have a better chance against Clinton than Trump. This could sway Republican voters to turn on Trump in hopes of a better chance to win - at least according to what the polls say.

Conclusion on pollsters and Trump

Whatever the reasons may be, it is apparent Donald Trump and the lead he has among Republican candidates is understated, and that comes from problems of methodologies used by those conducting the surveys.

It could also mean the current poll results with Trump going up against Hillary Clinton could be way off as well.

I think these polling companies should stop assuming the percentage or number of voters from each party they believe will go to the poll, as that has the strongest possibility of being tampered with, in the sense of a company with a certain bias lowering or raising the expected turnout, which would have a significant impact on the poll results.

It would also be wise to reduce the number of phone polls and go primarily with Internet polls, because they're producing the most accurate results.

As for Donald Trump, he is doing far better than the polls are giving him credit for, and that doesn't bode well for his competitors.


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    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 2 years ago from Orange County California

      People that believe in the polls and use them to make their voting decisions are pawns and they don't employ intelligent voting. They are being used by the media, as our the loyal party voters are being used by the party.

      Until the voters use their own intelligence to vote for the best candidate and not be swayed by the media or their party, the results will be the same for the country and its people. That result is a continued decline in the US, the current decline started in the 1970s.

      The current process is the same process of the 1970s, but with the voters getting dumber, and the technology used by the media and the political parties getting smarter on how to shepherd the voters.

      I believe that many people the polls to make their voting decisions, and that is just sheep fodder, and not intelligent people.