Pollster: My Profession Is Finished if Trump Wins Re-Election
If there’s one thing that stood out on election night 2016, it’s how wrong the polls were. In fact, the entirety of the media narrative that a Hillary Clinton presidency was a mere inevitability was fueled by them.
On election day 2016, the New York Times had Hillary Clinton six points ahead, giving her a 90% chance of winning the election. The Huffington Post infamously gave Hillary a 98.1% chance of winning the presidency, scoring 323 electoral votes in the process. FiveThirtyEight, known for their statistical analysis of politics, gave Hillary an 84% chance of winning.
Every single poll in the Real Clear Politics average forecasted a Clinton victory, with the exception of Rasmussen Reports, who saw Trump having a path to victory in the electoral college.
Will the polls be wrong again? The New York Times published an interesting article on that very subject, and if it’s the case that they all have the same margins of error as the last election cycle, Trump will handily win re-election.
And if that happens, famed Republican pollster Frank Luntz says the profession is finished. According to Fox News:
Luntz told Fox News’ Bret Baier that his “profession is done” if President Trump wins re-election come Nov. 3, and proves the national polls wrong yet again.
“I hate to acknowledge it, because that’s my industry — at least partially — but the public will have no faith. No confidence. Right now, the biggest issue is the trust deficit,” Luntz said in response to Baier asking how pollsters will fare if they are wrong in predicting the 2020 presidential election. “Pollsters did not do a good job in 2016. So, if Donald Trump surprises people, if Joe Biden had a 5- or 6-point lead, my profession is done.”
Luntz was among those pollsters who accepted the conventional wisdom of a Hillary victory, tweeting at 6:43PM on election night “In case I wasn’t clear enough from my previous tweets: Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the Untied States.”
In case I wasn't clear enough from my previous tweets:
Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States. #ElectionNight
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) November 8, 2016
I’ll disagree slightly with Luntz in that I only believe “polling as we know it” needs to die if they’re wrong again. While the polls have generally been reliable in predicting elections, they’re clearly not taking into account all the relevant variables when it comes an outsider candidate like Trump.
For instance, it’s the case that for every election since data has been kept on this, the candidate that attracted more voter enthusiasm has won the election (and Trump is attracting more voter enthusiasm than Biden). Hillary Clinton ran a 13-point deficit to Trump in voter enthusiasm, while Trump boasts nearly a 20-point advantage over Biden.
Additionally, the percentage of Americans saying they’re better off than they were four years prior also strongly correlates with an incumbents re-election chances, and more say they’re better off under Trump than they were four years ago than any president since Gallup began tracking that question. While 56% say they’re better off under Trump than they were under four years ago, Obama win re-election in 2012 with only 45% of Americans saying they were better off.