The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Abandon All Hope

Almost every poll, it seems, indicates that Donald trump is going to lose big—very big. Every progressive talking head—meaning most of the talking heads on main stream media—gives us a smug smile and indicates that the Democrats are moving money and emphasis to down-ballot races. It's over!

And yet, there appears to be a very subtle fear that hides behind the smugness, evidenced in their eyes. It might be that deep down they know their candidate, Hillary Clinton is a corrupt and dishonest politician. Maybe the public, at the last minute, might reject their demonization of Trump and ... do the unthinkable!

So in the grand tradition of a "rigged" election—you know, one in which the media has taken sides, shapes the narrative, and otherwise does everything possible to sway the electorate in the direction of their candidate, recent "news" stories blanket the media telling us about a ABC News poll in which Clinton leads Trump by 12 percentage points nationally. The underlying message is adapted from Dante's Inferno and is aimed directly at Trump voters: Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

The strategy is predictable and far from subtle—convince Trump voters to stay home—abandon all hope.

But let's take a look at the ABC News poll that got so much MSM attention over the weekend. ZeroHedge comments:
Like many of the recent polls from Reuters, ABC and The Washington Post, this latest poll included a 9-point sampling bias toward registered democrats.
"METHODOLOGY – This ABC News poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Oct. 20-22, 2016, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 874 likely voters. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 36-27-31 percent, Democrats - Republicans - Independents."
Of course, while democrats may enjoy a slight registration advantage of a couple of points, it is nowhere near the 9 points reflected in this latest poll.

Meanwhile, we also pointed out that with huge variances in preference across demographics one can easily "rig" a poll by over indexing to one group vs. another. As a quick example, the ABC / WaPo poll found that Hillary enjoys a 79-point advantage over Trump with black voters. Therefore, even a small "oversample" of black voters of 5% could swing the overall poll by 3 full points. Moreover, the pollsters don't provide data on the demographic mix of their polls which makes it impossible to "fact check" the bias...convenient.
It's not worth getting caught up in the statistical weeds at this point or in the notion that there is a notable lack of Clinton enthusiasm among many Democrats. Suffice to say that a 12-point Clinton lead nationally is ... well ... questionable.

Rather, it might be worth noting a John Podesta (Clinton's campaign manager) email released as part of the Wikileaks hack. Again from ZeroHedge (Podesta's words from the email are italicized):
Now, for all of you out there who still aren't convinced that the polls are "adjusted", we present to you the following Podesta email, leaked earlier today, that conveniently spells out, in detail, exactly how to "manufacture" the desired data. The email starts out with a request for recommendations on "oversamples for polling" in order to "maximize what we get out of our media polling."

I also want to get your Atlas folks to recommend oversamples for our polling before we start in February. By market, regions, etc. I want to get this all compiled into one set of recommendations so we can maximize what we get out of our media polling.

The email even includes a handy, 37-page guide with the following poll-rigging recommendations. In Arizona, over sampling of Hispanics and Native Americans is highly recommended:

Research, microtargeting & polling projects
- Over-sample Hispanics
- Use Spanish language interviewing. (Monolingual Spanish-speaking voters are among the lowest turnout Democratic targets)
- Over-sample the Native American population

For Florida, the report recommends "consistently monitoring" samples to makes sure they're "not too old" and "has enough African American and Hispanic voters." Meanwhile, "independent" voters in Tampa and Orlando are apparently more dem friendly so the report suggests filling up independent quotas in those cities first.

- Consistently monitor the sample to ensure it is not too old, and that it has enough African American and Hispanic voters to reflect the state.
- On Independents: Tampa and Orlando are better persuasion targets than north or south Florida (check your polls before concluding this). If there are budget questions or oversamples, make sure that Tampa and Orlando are included first.

Meanwhile, it's suggested that national polls over sample "key districts / regions" and "ethnic" groups "as needed."

It's perfectly okay for Podesta (a rank partisan) to recommend over-sampling when it benefits his candidate. But is absolutely NOT okay for the main stream media to follow his advice—unless of course, they're complicit in rigging the polls and indirectly, rigging the election.

To be clear, I'm not suggesting that every poll is rigged, but rather that because the media is so blatantly anti-Trump, it is possible that their overall bias also creeps into the way they and their polling contractors do their polls. That oversampling is common. That might be why, even with these overwhelming "abandon all hope" results , there still appears to be a bit of unease in the land of the progressives.