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Republican pollster Frank Luntz, in highlighting how wrong national polling was in 2016, predicted his industry would be “done” if President Donald Trump is reelected.
“If polling gets it wrong again, then the industry, at least for politics, is done,” he told “The Interview” podcast in response to a question from Mediaite’s Aidan McLaughlin about what would happen if the president pulls out a win after national polling has consistently had him trailing Democratic rival Joe Biden.
“You can get it wrong once. And it was the exit polling they got wrong — and none of the networks want to acknowledge it,” he continued.
“I put out a tweet on election night of 2016 that said Hillary Clinton is going to be the next president. I was really blunt about it because exit polling had never been more than four percent off. And it was off in both 2000 and it was off in 2004. It was wrong,” the pollster added.
Luntz said that polling correctly forecast that Clinton got the most votes nationally, but state-by-state surveys were wrong.
“But if they get it wrong a second time and Trump does win, I think it’s going to be very much the end of public polling in a political situation,” he told the podcast.
The pollster claimed that Biden’s polling numbers were accurate while faulting the president’s campaign for failing to find a way to gain ground as Election Day approached and Americans began voting early.
He also said that the president’s decision to skip the second debate — which was marred by controversy anyway — was a potential “fatal error.”
“There are so few undecideds left and so few people that acknowledge they could switch who they support, that Trump would have to win 100 percent of them to get back in this race,” Luntz said. “Now, I believe that there is a so-called shy Trump voter, just not nearly as much as the Trump people want to believe.”
National polling has tightened in recent days. According to the Real Clear Politics average of polling on Saturday, Biden was up 7.9 percent. However, he had been up by double digits for much of the summer.
Also, the RCP average shows Biden losing ground in key battleground states, though betting odds still favor Biden 65 percent to Trump’s 35 percent. The average also shows Biden polling better at this point in the campaign than Clinton in 2016 (+7.9 vs. +3.8).
Clinton, of course, didn’t win several formerly blue states, most in the upper Midwest and Rust Belt, that she was expected to close.
Other polls, however, paint a different picture. Rasmussen Reports, for example, has Trump leading Biden by 3 points in Florida, while the RCP average has Biden up by 1.5. Rasmussen also has the North Carolina Senate race between incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis (R) and the scandal-ridden Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham a tie, while RCP has the latter up by a point-and-a-half.
Rasmussen — which says it’s the only nationally-recognized public polling firm that tracks daily presidential approval ratings — reported Friday that Trump’s had risen to 51 percent, a good place to be less than two weeks out from Election Day.
Biden is also only leading Trump by 3 points according to Rasmussen, one of the few polling firms that correctly forecast a Trump victory in 2016.
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