CHARLOTTE, NC: As always political pundits are calling the 2018 midterm elections the most important in history. That might be true in some ways, but not the ones to which the politicians are referring. Many, if not most, of the polls are calling for Democrats to regain the House of Representatives. After all, it is typically true that the out of power party gains at the ballot box in non-presidential election years.
But what if, as in 2016, the polls are wrong again? Will the survey-takers lose their credibility following two straight miscalculations?
What pre-Mid-Term issues will affect the polls and the voting
This time, perhaps more than ever before, there are many other questions that will be raised but likely not answered. One that is most glaring is how much or how little did the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court fiasco affect the voting? Experts will be debating that one for a long time. Regardless of how the votes are counted after the polls close.
Gallup issued a late survey that goes against the grain of most of the polls when it found that the majority of Americans think the status will remain quo in Congress with the Republicans retaining control of both houses. Meanwhile, could it be that Democrats taking the data their pollsters have predicted to heart, thereby setting them up for another huge letdown if 2016 repeats?
In recent years the media, in particular, has used polls as legitimate news stories when in truth they are little more than snapshots of voter’s moods at any given point in time. Furthermore, thanks to talk radio and the 24-hour news cycle, voters have become savvier. If they do give pollsters answers, they often lie about their positions on a particular person or issue.
In addition, many voters have been so vilified in the past by the opposition that they now stick their fingers in the air, check the wind and tell the pollster what they think he wants to hear.
With all of those variables in play, there really is no good way to determine the leanings of the country. At least not until the votes are counted.
If voter turnout is heavy on election day does it favor Republicans or Democrats?
Some would argue that Democratic hatred of Donald Trump is so strong that large numbers give them the edge. On the other hand, there are those who suspect the dirty tricks of the Kavanaugh nomination might have a backlash that favors Republicans with a heavy turnout at the polls.
One thing is certain, even though its notoriety may be shortlived, the survey system that gets it right will have bragging rights and enhanced street cred at least until the next election is over.
Polls have been accurate, but things are changing.
According to Gallup, every election prediction American voters have made during the 10 midterms between 1946 and 2014 has been accurate. If that legacy holds true, Democrats could be in for two more long years of political PTSD. Of perhaps more consequence is what will the anti-Trumpists say or do to counter their loss and salve their wounds?
However, the idea of the polls being accurate predictors has changed with cell-phones. Pollsters relied on robocalls to find people at home willing to answer poll questions. With most people using cell phones, which are robocall proof, and simply no longer answering their landline, the polling demographic has shrunk. In fact, it has all but disappeared.
One would logically think that there is a message in the results that should be clear. Apparently nothing will change in terms of a philosophical worldview. That is the saddest truth of all. If there is a November surprise it will be so telling. Yet the Democrat opposition remains so strongly in denial. They are still waiting for Hillary to move back into 1600 W. Pennsylvania Avenue.
The ebbing tide after the wave
By days end, the anxiety attacks from voters on the liberal side of the ledger who are hoping and praying for a tidal wave of blue could be traumatically worse than 2016.
Trial lawyer and big-time gambler Robert Barnes is so confident the polls are wrong again that he has journeyed to London to bet more than 100,000 pounds on the outcome. Barnes is buoyed by the fact that he successfully predicted the Brexit vote and the Hillary defeat in 2016. As a side bet, Barnes is also gambling that Republicans increase the number of seats they hold in the Senate.
Barnes believes that pollsters today incorporate methods of gathering information to create the results their clients want to hear. That’s all well and good until the polls close and the votes are counted. Just ask Hillary. If the outcome is significantly different than the predictions why should candidates spend thousands of dollars during each campaign season only to come up wrong?
Barnes also claims that √. Recent CNN polling has Democrats ahead by 13 points in the race for the House. Rasmussen disagrees by giving Republicans a slight one-point margin.
However you look at those numbers, the discrepancy is too huge to make any logical determination about the results based on pure data.
In the end, “wishful thinking” may prove to be another disastrous heartbreak for those who are relying too heavily on polls.
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award-winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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