Deja Vu All Over Again: Fox News Helps Trump Push Theory That Polls Are Skewed Against Him
Here we go again!
It was all just a matter of time, really. After the Washington Post/ABC News released a poll on Sunday showing Donald Trump down 12 points to Hillary Clinton, revealing a stunning 14-point reversal since the outlets’ May poll, the Trumpster immediately floated out the idea that the survey was rigged against him, pointing to the high Democratic voter sampling and how WaPo just hates him.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2016
On Monday morning, Fox News got right to work pushing Daddy’s theory. The curvy couch sitters at Fox & Friends immediately spread the word, noting the ‘oversampling’ and parroting Trump’s protestations that this was a “dirty” poll. Newest replaceable blonde co-host Ainsley Earhardt was really upset that WaPo polled more Dems than Repubs, obviously believing that there are exactly the same number of people who are in the GOP as the Democratic Party. (Which is, demonstrably, wrong.)
“Yeah, I mean, those numbers were pretty shocking to me because you think if you’re going to poll someone, you know the Democrats are going to choose Hillary. You know the Republicans are going to choose Trump. So I want to know what the independents think. And if you look at the numbers, that one poll, 36 percent were Democrats. 24 percent were Republicans, and 33 were independents. The majority were Democrats.”
Well, the ‘majority” weren’t Dems, I think the word you were looking for was plurality.
Sanded block of wood Brian Kilmeade immediately blurted out that Trump is winning in the independent polls.
“So far Donald Trump leads in most independent polls!”
Now, perhaps ol’ Brian was claiming that The Donald was generally winning with independents in most polls, which is kinda correct. But, if he’s stating that Trump is winning in polls not commissioned by large media outlets, then he is definitely wrong, as the former reality TV star hasn’t led in a poll since May.
Silly grin expert Steve Doocy jumped in to drop some knowledge, repeating Earhardt’s original point that WaPo/ABC deliberately skewed the poll to make Trump look bad.
“But according to Gallup, which just surveyed — didn’t ask who you’re for, they just said are you a Democrat, Republican or independent, 30 percent said that they were actually Democrats. 27 percent Republicans, and 41 percent independents. So in other words, the ABC poll had way too many Democrats, and they had way too few independents.”
Later on in the morning, anchor Martha McCallum continued this particular talking point that was obviously handed down from up high. Unfortunately for the Fox anchor, Brit Hume didn’t get the memo, or just didn’t care. (He’s not been a vocal Trump supporter like the majority of Fox pundits and hosts.) As McCallum continuously tried to get Hume to buy into the notion that some polling agencies and news outlets were trying to rig surveys to hurt Trump, Hume reminded her that all the polls show Trump down.
Well, I think it’s worth noting the wide disparity between the results that The Wall Street Journal got from the ones that ABC News and The Washington Post got, and what I would suggest, Martha, is that it’s better to look at the polling average which gives Hillary Clinton about a six or seven point lead, which I think is probably about right. Perhaps even more important, however, is that not a single poll that I’ve seen going back more than a month, has shown Donald Trump ahead. There were a couple back in May, about mid-May, in which he was ahead by a couple of points, but nothing since then, which shows that he has not been gaining ground over the past month, or six weeks and she has at least to some extent. And I think that reflects, you know, you see the awareness of that in the Trump campaign reflected in the personnel changes, the set-piece speeches and so on in which I think he’s trying to change the trajectory, which seems to need changing.
Trump and his supporters tend to believe all the polls that show him ahead. They certainly liked them all during the primary season when he was leading, and he couldn’t stop talking about them. Now the polls are adverse to him, and that one in particular he doesn’t like. And I’m sure his supporters, the ones I hear from anyway say that the poll is rigged, and all the rest of it. I don’t think your viewers should pay too much attention to that. Look at the polling averages. Look at all the polls put together, to see what you get. And I think the picture’s pretty clear. He’s trailing, but not insurmountably.”
Now, if all of this sounds eerily familiar, it is because we heard all of this shit back in the summer and fall of 2012. Conservatives were POSITIVE that the country was going to reject Barack Obama in November, and couldn’t believe polls that showed him with even narrow leads against Mitt Romney. This led to right-wingers believing the polls were inaccurate, with one website going so far as to recalibrate the polls using Rasmussen’s demographics. (Yep, the same Rasmussen that always overshoots its results towards Republicans, to the point that it has become a joke now.)
Fox News’ editorial board had to actually publish an op-ed at that time saying that the polls weren’t rigged in Obama’s favor, even if they thought the other agencies were oversampling Democrats. However, their own pundits and commentators continued to expound on the theory, leading to Karl Rove’s infamous meltdown on live TV on Election Night that year. (And along those same lines, Romney himself being shellshocked that he lost badly, as he believed all along the polls were wrong.)
So it looks like we’re getting the same echo chamber forming this time around, with the same players shouting out the same tired old shit. It is deja vu all over again.