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

Friday, October 30, 2020

Voter Suppression

We all should be happy to see long lines at polling places. It's a sign that voters care about who wins and are turning out in large numbers, even as early voting and mail-in ballots are used. But some Democrats see the long lines as a clear sign of—you guessed it—voter SUPPRESSION! Among the Democrat brain trust who see it this way is Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, who thinks that any voter line indicates that someone is trying to stop voters from voting. Then again, clear thinking was never among the attributes that got AOC elected.

On the other hand, there is an actual, ongoing attempt at voter suppression that is real. It's the non-stop publication by the trained hamsters in the media of highly questionable polls that show Joe Biden with significant leads in states like PA, MI, NV and even AZ. These polls, like the ones in 2016 that showed Hillary Clinton with an 11 point lead in late October 2016, are an obvious attempt to discourage GOP voters, hopefully to the extent that they wouldn't bother voting for someone who the polls tell them is bound to lose.

Polls can be manipulated by the weighting the population of respondents toward one party affiliation over another (many polls are +4% to +6% Democratic), polling registered voters instead of likely voters, skewing the age of people polled, and of course, by avoiding contact in locales where voters are likely to vote for the candidate you want to lose. The result in 2020 is polling numbers that are counter-intuitive and very likely incorrect—designed to suppress the vote for Trump.

Kyle Smith reports on a conversation with pollster Jim Lee of Susquehanna Polling and Research:

Lee goes further than some other analysts in suggesting that pollsters may be deliberately overstating the strength of Democratic candidates in order to dampen Republican turnout. In this press release, he calls it “the very definition of ‘voter suppression’” for a poll, by Franklin & Marshall College, to claim Hillary Clinton was ahead by eleven points among likely voters in surveys taken from October 26–30, 2016. He frankly calls this “liberal bias.” Yet, Lee notes, Franklin & Marshall and its lead pollster are still taken seriously by the media and cited as nonpartisan experts. He thinks there should be professional consequences for pollsters who are so wildly inaccurate as to raise serious questions about their impartiality.

In a recent interview for WFMZ, Lee elaborated, saying, “When pollsters get the results back and they look suspicious, or they should, because they’re showing one candidate with a double-digit lead in a state that was carried by one candidate by, you know, a point or two, they should realize something’s not right and that’s where the art of polling comes in.” Lee calls attention to what he describes as “garbage polls” showing a double-digit lead for Joe Biden in the past few weeks in Pennsylvania. He sees this as a replay of 2016 ... .”

The trained hamsters in the media leap to report every "garbage poll," as long as it has Biden up by a lot. And since the vast majority of polls are skewed toward Demcraats, even averages are meaningless. That's a subtle but undeniable attempt at voter suppression. 

The only poll that matters is the one next Tuesday. I suspect it won't conform to what the pollsters are telling us right now.


There are, of course, a very few pollsters who see it a different way, all because they account for "social desirability bias." Here's one, reported by  Barton Swaim:

Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by an average of 7 or 8 points in national surveys, more narrowly in battleground states. Everybody remembers the shock of 2016, but can the polls be wrong again?

Ask the question in a different way: Are poll respondents telling the truth? Robert Cahaly, head of the Trafalgar Group, thinks a lot of people aren’t. Trafalgar polls accurately foresaw the outcome in 2016, calling Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan for Mr. Trump. In 2020 the Atlanta-based consulting firm has generally shown Mr. Trump to be in a stronger position than the conventional wisdom would suggest.

In an interview over a catfish supper at the OK Cafe diner, Mr. Cahaly won’t reveal much about his methods, but he says his polls mitigate what social scientists call “social desirability bias.” The mainstream media and other authority figures have openly and aggressively contended that Mr. Trump is a white supremacist, a would-be dictator, a cretinous buffoon and an inveterate liar. In such an environment, poll respondents who sympathize with the president, or who believe his administration has on balance done more good than harm, may be forgiven for not saying so to a stranger over the phone.

Do people lie to pollsters? “Yes,” Mr. Cahaly says, “but they’re not necessarily doing anything wrong. If a grandmother says, ‘This is my grandson, isn’t he a handsome boy?’ and you can see he’s anything but handsome—he’s sickly and weird-looking—you don’t say, ‘No, he’s sickly and weird-looking.’ You just say, ‘He sure is.’ ” 

That may very well be what's happening in 2020, and if it is, it's the stuff of nightmares for the Dems. Sleep tight.