April 13, 2021

"A group of top Democratic Party pollsters are set to release a public statement Tuesday acknowledging 'major errors' in their 2020 polling — errors that left party officials stunned..."

"... by election results that failed to come close to expectations in November.... 'Twenty-twenty was an "Oh, s---" moment for all of us,' said one pollster involved in the effort, who was granted anonymity to discuss the process candidly. 'And I think that we all kinda quickly came to the point that we need to set our egos aside. We need to get this right.'...  [S]ky-high turnout for Trump among irregular voters only explains a small slice of the problem, the pollsters concluded. Even if the polls conducted last year were properly adjusted for future turnout, they still would have been biased toward Democrats. The memo floats at least three possible causes: late movement toward Trump and Republican candidates... the Covid pandemic causing people who stayed home to answer the phone at a greater rate... and the decline of social trust and faith in institutions."

Politico reports. 

FROM THE EMAIL: lawlizard writes:

They nailed it when they noted “decline of social trust and faith in institutions.” I took a phone poll in 2002. I was a conservative living in a liberal city. The pollster actively tried to get me to say what he wanted to hear. I assume pollsters continue to do the same. My husband told a pollster in 2020 he was going to vote for Joe Biden, and then laughed about it for 3 days. The purpose of a poll should be to find out what I do think, and inform the politician what he should do based on its popularity, not to tell me what I ought to think. Polling instead says we want to spend a lot of money on social programs, you are telling us you do not want to pay more in taxes for these programs, but you do like spending on “infrastructure.” If we call social programs “infrastructure,” can we spend the money the way we want? You want voter id and secure elections, if we tell you that this is “racist,” does it change your mind. Polling like many other institutions has been corrupted. It’s not about listening, it’s about manipulating. They have lost sight of their institutional role and so it can no longer be effective. If you are going to manipulate me, then I’m going to manipulate you first.

Me, I just don't answer the phone if Siri doesn't announce who's calling. You'll have to leave voice mail to get through by phone, and I don't think pollsters ever do that. So I am never polled. I didn't vote, but I stood in waiting, prepared to vote, if motivated — a raging "undecided" in a swing state.

AND: Ray So CA emails:

I see your post on Democratic polling trust as a continuation of the other post on the election fraud, and even the one about nobody showing up at the White Lives Matters Rally. It all comes down to trust. Perhaps a tag "Trust" or "Trust in institutions." I see a theme there.

Look what happened to those that attended the Trump capital rally. And how they have been demonized. And had the entire weight of the FBI and DOJ thrown against them. And how no major Republican Figure has stood with them. Talk about broken Trust. The lack of trust in the News Media is another example.

>the decline of social trust and faith in institutions.

For the polling issue, I see as a bigger issue the fear of being doxed, losing a job, or not getting one. I guess that could be rewritten as lack of faith and trust in the polling industry. Who knows who is really calling you for a poll? And what database they are populating.

40% of Hiring Managers said supporting Trump would negatively impact their hiring decision. 

If you make a political contribution in CA over $100, it's a public record. And you can be doxed. That happened after the Gay Marriage Ballot initiative. Brendan Eich got fired for that.

And now a bill is in process in California, that would make those who signed a recall petition, available. My fear of this, and my family, of being doxed was why I did not sign the recall petition against Governor Newsom. My daughter was worried she could lose her job if her company found out she signed the petition.

AND: A reader named Steve emails:

When GW Bush won a disputed election in 2001, the media, led by the NYT and WaPost, immediately dispatched hoards of journalists to count every vote. I always assumed that they were looking to discredit the Bush election. Has anything like that happened after the 2020 election? I must have missed it. The fact that the media has turned a blind eye to what could be a huge story tells me all I need to know.

And what did polling of Democrats look like in 2001? Most of the Democrats I know are still convinced that GW Bush stole that election.

PLUS: Eugene writes: 

To Ray's point -- who knows who is calling you for a poll? -- something similar happened in Chicago in the early '70s. I don't remember the particulars, but one of the Daley Machine's candidates was accused of corruption. An independent Democrat challenged him in the primary. The polls all showed the Machine candidate winning handily. Political reporter Mike Royko went to the local bars and learned that people hated the guy, but nobody was willing to say so to a "pollster," who could just be a city flunky in disguise. Royko predicted the challenger would win, and was met with great derision -- until it happened. "The Royko Effect" became a thing in Chicago politics for years. 

To Steve's point -- that the newspapers are not interested in investigating the 2020 election the same way they did the 200 vote -- I agree with his point. But in fairness, the 2000 election turned on a few thousand ballots in one state, and even then the investigation didn't begin until the summer, as I recall. 2020 involves tens of thousands of ballots in six states. Even if the media were interested in the truth -- and they're not -- it would be a much greater logistical challenge.