What Happens To The Polling Industry If Trump Wins? 

What Happens To The Polling Industry If Trump Wins? 
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky


This election year is looking a lot like 2016, isn’t it?

Every major national poll shows President Trump trailing former Vice President Joe Biden. While the two candidates are in a statistical dead heat in many battleground states, the polls, along with the corporate press, are predicting a Biden victory. 

After 2016, the nation saw how badly the polling industry failed when it went all-in on Hillary Clinton only to realize that they had gotten it drastically wrong. In 2020, they are doing the same with Biden, whose campaign ironically warned that the polls showing him with a double-digit lead over Trump were not accurate. 

But what will happen if the polling industry gets it wrong again? 

During an appearance on Fox News, pollster Frank Luntz said that if Trump were to win re-election, the industry is finished. 

“Pollsters did not do a good job in 2016,” Luntz acknowledged. “So, if Donald Trump surprises people, if Joe Biden had a 5- or 6-point lead, my profession is done.”

While the majority of polling organizations rightly predicted that Clinton would win the popular vote, they were wrong on their predictions regarding state by state numbers. As of today, a RealClearPolitics average of national polls shows Biden leading Trump by 7.2 percentage points. 

On Sunday, Fox News published a report discussing polling in key battleground states. “A New York Times/Siena College poll released Sunday has Biden leading President Trump by six points in Arizona, three in Florida, six in Pennsylvania and 11 in Wisconsin. The margin of error is 3.2 points for Florida,” according to Fox News. 

Other polls have revealed similar results. In Florida, which has the highest number of electoral votes among battleground states, Trump leads Biden 50% to 48% according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll. This is well within the margin of error and has been labeled a “tossup” by other outlets. 

During a Wednesday interview with Larry King on PoliticKING, Luntz reiterated his prediction about the polling industry. He insisted that if the industry gets it wrong this time, “The industry is done.”

He continued:

“The profession is done. They were so clear in declaring Hillary Clinton as the winner in 2016, and they were wrong, and now, they’re doing the same thing with Joe Biden in 2020. If Donald Trump can come back and confound the experts, the polling profession is finished as a profession. If the polling is wrong, then my profession is not just gonna have egg in the face, it’s gonna have pie in the face, it is gonna look like Soupy Sales in the 1960s.”

The pollster indicated that there are still undecided voters that favor Trump’s policies but have problems with his character. When it comes to Biden, these voters stated that they approve of his character, but believe that he’s “hiding something” and are wary of his policies. 

“He won’t tell them on issues that matter to them,” Luntz noted. “They refuse to back him because they think he’s hiding something, therefore they have to decide which is more important to them, Donald Trump’s [personality], or Joe Biden’s policies, and that is why they are undecided, they can’t figure that out yet.”

What is also interesting is what the pollster said about voters’ attitudes toward supporting their preferred candidate vs voting against the other guy. 

“80 percent of Donald Trump’s voters are voting for him, and only 19 percent are voting against Biden,” he said. “In Joe Biden’s case 54 percent are actually voting against Donald Trump and only 46 percent are voting for Joe Biden.”

Election Day is only two days away, and despite what the polls say, Americans can’t be sure which candidate will emerge victorious. People seem to have mixed opinions towards all of the polls that have been released in the leadup to the election. But one thing appears to be clear: Luntz is right. If the polling industry gets it wrong again this time, they are done.


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