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The unprecedented overwhelming media bias has distorted the polls, hiding Trump's strength

The actual poll mean over the last two months has been disguised by a constant media attack on Trump


The preponderance of polls approach won't work in 2016


The Sabato Crystal Ball managing editor discussed the source of their confidence that Clinton will win the election, specifically the polls from the period of September 1st until election day. They look at these polls to determine who will win that state by taking as predictive what the preponderance of polls shows, a Clinton lead over this period.

This is an analytical strategy that is tried and true until now. We need to consider the possibility that this approach has been undermined by the unique nature of this election. Never before have I seen a majority of Democrats agree that the media is trying to get a Democrat elected, but we see that this time.

The media has so viciously and consistently attacked Trump and his supporters that it has detrimentally impacted the reliability of the polls.

 Sabato and Clinton

Larry Sabato with guest lecturer Hillary Clinton in his American Politics 101 class at UVA in 2008


Polls do not measure who will actually vote, but who wants to answer a poll




Voters associate polls with the media because that is where they hear about them. I believe that the media has so beaten up Republicans, so consistently ripped the party and its nominee, that a substantial portion of them simply will not take a poll over the phone as one form of rebellion against the media.

I offer as proof the polls since the media coverage went negative on Hillary after the James Comey announcement of a reopened investigation. Hillary dropped fourteen points in five days in the ABC poll, which the pollsters there described as a result of willingness to take polls on the phone.

As you can see from the chart to the right, the shift was dramatic. On Fox News Friday morning, Martha MacCallum described an explanation of this offered by the ABC/WaPo pollster. According to MacCallum, they described this as a result of the willingness, or lack thereof, of the two candidates' supporters to take polls. Because Hillary so rarely gets negative coverage in the mainstream liberal media, when she received major negative coverage it had a dramatic impact on the willingness of Democrats to answer pollsters.

I think this explanation makes sense, but it applies to the GOP as well. Most Trump supporters experience hostile treatment from the media every day. I think the particularly harsh and one-sided abuse the media has heaped onto the GOP and its nominee has undermined the preponderance of polls approach. That is why the Crystal Ball is likely to be wrong this time. These new polls represent the actual mean, not a variation from it. Americans don't want Hillary. They want change.

George Stephanopoulos April 2009





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