WASHINGTON, January 3, 2018: The Trump effect on polling probably started before Candidate Trump announced he was running for president. In 2014, the polls were wrong about which party would control Congress. 2016 polls were wrong about the presidential elections and which party would control Congress.
Polls measuring Trump’s approval rating are wrong too.
And concerning the 2018 elections, the current polls are wrong again. The Republicans are likely to gain seats in the Senate, perhaps increasing their number to 60 and gain a greater majority in the House.
Why are the polls so wrong?
There are currently just over 200 million voters in the US. It is impossible to ask everyone one of them how they intend to vote prior to an election. So, pollsters take a small, yet statistically significant, representative sample of voters from the population.
Since they asked only a thousand or so people, their results are usually presented with a margin of error which yields a range.
For instance, in 2016, polls indicated Hillary Clinton would receive 53% of the vote to Trump’s 46%, with 1% going to a third party or write-in. They said the margin of error was 2.6%. That meant the pollsters concluded Clinton would most likely receive 53%, but they were confident she would receive at least 50.4% (53 minus 2.6) They also felt that she could get as much as 55.6% (53 plus 2.6).
The pollsters then announced that they were confident Clinton would receive more than 50% of the vote and win the election. They reached the same conclusion when they sampled state-by-state in order to forecast the number of electoral college votes Clinton would receive.
They confidently concluded that Trump had no path to getting the 270 electoral college votes. Therefore, he had virtually a zero percent chance of winning.
The key word: confident.
The New York Times said that they were 98% confident that Clinton would win.
What is seldom mentioned is that they are 95% confident that their results are accurate. In other words, because they take a small sample of the population, they cannot be 100% sure about their conclusions. But if they take a representative sample, their results will be accurate 19 out of 20 times.
So why are they so wrong about Trump?
There are two reasons for why the Trump polls fall into the 1 out of 20 times they are the wrong category. The sample taken by most polls tend to not precisely represent the entire population. Currently, most polls show Trump’s approval rating just under 40%. There is some indication that these polls have a disproportionately high number of Democrats which likely skews the results and lowers Trump’s approval.
The Rasmussen Poll, which claims to have a more representative sample, has Trump’s approval rating in the high 40% range.
The real reason for the poll inaccuracy is voter intimidation.
There seems to be a substantial number of Trump supporters who are fearful of expressing their true views publicly or even to a stranger with a pleasant voice calling just before dinner kindly asking the respondent to answer a couple of quick questions.
Because some Trump opponents often react very negatively to anyone who supports the president, Trump supporters become intimidated and reluctant to express their true views. Some may feel they just want to give the answer they suspect the questioner really wants to hear. In the privacy of the election booth though, they are free to vote their true beliefs.
This means, that when looking at the polls concerning Trump, it is a good idea to be at least a bit skeptical. So far it is easy to be very skeptical about the polls concerning the 2018 elections. Most say the GOP is in trouble. They say unless changes are made, the Dems may gain control of the Senate and maybe the House.
In 2018 Democrats will lose.
The current mood of the country, combined with the bias sampling and the intimidation, result in the conclusions from current polls. Beginning at the end of this month, when fourth-quarter GDP growth estimates exceeds 4%, America will begin to return to economic prosperity. This too is something the current forecasters are missing.
Americans have been stuck in bad economic times for so long, that they have forgotten what good times feel like. By November, true economic prosperity will be beginning to return. Americans will start to feel better about themselves as their job has gotten better, their income has increased and new opportunities are available to them.
That’s what prosperity feels like.
Since not one Democrat in the Senate or the House supported Trump’s policies, all the GOP candidates have to say is,
“I supported President Trump’s prosperity agenda. My opponent voted against economic prosperity. Do you want him/her to represent you?”