If Fox News’ polls are to be believed, President Donald Trump has his work cut out for him going into the 2020 presidential election — not that he’s worried (more on this later).
An FNC poll of registered voters published Sunday revealed that the president is currently trailing the top five Democrat presidential candidates in hypothetical match-ups by margins ranging from as high as 10 percentage points to as low as 1 percentage point.
The most likely Democrat to win the nomination, former President Joe Biden, leads the president by 10 percentage points. Sens. Bernie Sanders Elizabeth Warren lead by 9 and 2 percentage points, while Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg lead by one.
While one is a small number, it’s still bigger than zero.
— FoxNewsSunday (@FoxNewsSunday) June 16, 2019
These numbers don’t bode well for the president. Is there anything in the poll that does? Possibly. None of the Democrat presidential candidates scored 50 percent or higher. But given as Biden and Sanders are already polling at 49 percent, chances are their support level will eclipse 50 percent (if not higher) once the primaries conclude and Democrats coalesce around a single candidate.
But are these poll numbers to even be trusted, particularly this far out? Renowned statistician Nate Silver, the founder of FiveThirtyEight, argued in a tweet on Friday that no, they aren’t.
“Empirically, the margin of error on general election polls conducted this far out is around… 25 points!” he pointed out.
Empirically, the margin of error on general election polls conducted this far out is around… 25 points! https://t.co/i75flKJcw6
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) June 14, 2019
The proof lies in what happened in the past.
“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),” FiveThirtyEight senior contributor Perry Bacon wrote in a report just hours before Silver posted his tweet. “On average, these polls missed the final result by 11 percentage points.”
Keep in mind that not a single one of the Democrat presidential candidates who were included in Fox’s recent poll led the president by 11 or more percentage points.
“Jump back to roughly this point in the 2016 cycle, for example, and Clinton was ahead of all eight of her hypothetical GOP opponents in a May 2015 Quinnipiac poll, with a whopping 50-32 advantage over Trump,” Bacon’s report continued.
And as you are no doubt aware, Hillary Clinton did NOT win the 2016 election. Electorally speaking, she didn’t even get close:
We often hear that “demographic changes of the future are the Democrats destiny”, but actually if you take the projections for the allocation of the Electoral College among the states post-2020 census, Trump would’ve done slightly better than he did even in 2016. #elections pic.twitter.com/ct18TkX96d
— Bruce Stanford (@brhstanford) May 5, 2019
And that’s another point to consider. Polls don’t take into consideration the electoral map, meaning they only reflect the so-called “popular vote.” And in that way, they do tend to be more accurate.
“The last presidential election featured one of the more accurate sets of early polls for this point in the cycle: Hillary Clinton led Donald Trump 46.2 percent to 41.2 percent in an average of all polls conducted in November and December 2015, missing the eventual national popular vote margin by about 3 points,” Bacon notes.
The actual results were 48 percent for Clinton and 46 percent for Trump. So even though Trump lost the so-called “popular vote” by 2 percentage points, he still won the election. This means that though polls had predicted that Clinton would win, they weren’t technically wrong.
This may perhaps be why the president has become so antagonistic toward “fake news” polls and the pollsters who conduct them — because their work is so irrelevant, if you think about it.
The same day that Fox released its latest polls, NBC News reported that Trump’s 2020 election campaign is cutting some of its own pollsters loose.
While this story hasn’t been confirmed by the president’s team yet, NBC claimed the pollsters were being let loose because of “leaked internal polling [that] showed the president trailing former Vice President Joe Biden in critical 2020 battleground states.”
Tim Murtaugh, the campaign’s director of communications, confirmed last week that this leaked polling data that the media published was wholly inaccurate.
We have new data – not the same as the alleged internal polling that was old, anonymously sourced, inaccurately described, and subject to erroneous media speculation. The new data tested issues Dems are running on. In all 17 states polled, POTUS leads.
— Tim Murtaugh (@TimMurtaugh) June 12, 2019
According to the president, who’s as equally peeved with the media as he reportedly is with his pollsters, somebody should conduct a poll about who’s the best at producing fake news.
A poll should be done on which is the more dishonest and deceitful newspaper, the Failing New York Times or the Amazon (lobbyist) Washington Post! They are both a disgrace to our Country, the Enemy of the People, but I just can’t seem to figure out which is worse? The good…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2019
…..news is that at the end of 6 years, after America has been made GREAT again and I leave the beautiful White House (do you think the people would demand that I stay longer? KEEP AMERICA GREAT), both of these horrible papers will quickly go out of business & be forever gone!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2019
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