(Some of) The Polls Were Right

If there’s one aspect of American culture bizarre to a British observer, it’s not the alternative spelling of “aluminum.” Nor is it the immutable gun culture, or the Electoral College (both topics about which Britons feign puzzlement). Instead, it is the media’s apparent power to call an election. 

As votes are still counted in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and North Carolina, the newspapers here have plastered themselves senseless with talk of “President Biden.”

Joe Biden could be confirmed president. But it is not over yet and likely won’t be for some time. I’m just about old enough to remember President Al Gore. 

We Brits love a touch of giddy rancor. Ever since the original Brexiteers broke away from the EU’s tyrannical rule, some of us—the media especially—cling like jilted lovers to any whiff of American misfortune. After all, we are reduced often cringingly to references of our “special relationship” with the United States, a reference which, I’m told, is not reciprocated with the same reverence by the Yanks. 

Yet, the media can call an election. The same “experts” at Fox News whose polling assured a Biden landslide took it upon themselves to declare Arizona for Biden on Election Night, and the presidency for Biden on Saturday morning. According to the media, it is finished.. 

Perhaps, sports commentators should have called this year’s Super Bowl for the San Francisco 49ers. They led by 10 with just nine minutes left. It was over. 

Perhaps this luxury comes from the unreality favored by the alphabet media. The same media which insisted the Democrats would sweep the Senate, fatten their House margin, and wash a wave of repudiation over Trump and the new Republican movement. 

As we now know for sure, none of that happened. If accurate, current results suggest Americans firmly rejected identity politics, yet also called time on the personal style of President Trump. America remains a center-right country. Few dared say that before November 3. 

We know one thing for certain: large swathes of the polling industry are perhaps dead. And along with them goes the alphabet media, especially that of the larcenous Fox News. 

A Pat on the Back, If You Will Allow

Yet, some pollsters will survive this mess. Polls conducted for the Center for American Greatness showed a much tighter race compared to the gurus of FiveThirtyEight and the New York Times’ “Upshot.”

At worst, the American Greatness polls showed President Trump and Joe Biden neck-and-neck through the last month of the campaign going into Election Day. 

In Arizona, we had it much closer than most. On September 29, our poll with Susquehanna had President Trump and Joe Biden locked at 47 percent apiece. We also claimed Trump was running strong with Hispanics at 40 percent, especially in Florida and Nevada. As we know, the president secured the highest percentage of minorities for a Republican since the 1950s. 

A later poll, on October 23, found President Trump with a razor-thin lead at 46.6 to 46.2 percent over Joe Biden. The votes in Arizona are still being counted. The eventual winner will win by a whisker. Nate Silver had Biden ahead by 2.6 points. 

In Wisconsin, Silver’s FiveThirtyEight had Biden cruising 8.4 points ahead of President Trump. Our poll on October 31 found Biden with just a three-point lead. Earlier polls found both a statistical dead-heat with Biden at 48 and Trump at 46 percent, and a 45 percent apiece tie. Biden’s margin of victory currently stands at 0.7 percent and is in dispute. 

Florida was most striking. In late September, our poll found Biden leading Trump by 46 percent to 43 percent, warning of Biden’s struggle with Latinos and black Americans. 

“Trump is also outperforming 2016 with black Floridians. The same poll shows him with 11 percent support compared to 8 percent in the last election. If those numbers hold, Florida is simply unwinnable for Biden,” the Susquehanna poll for the Center for American Greatness revealed. 

By November 1, we had Trump edging Biden, 47 percent to 46 percent. Trump won Florida by 51 percent to 48 percent. The FiveThirtyEight average had Biden up 2.5 points. 

We said the same in Nevada, with our Pulse Opinion poll finding Biden just one point ahead of Trump with 49 percent. We also found Trump running strong with 47 percent of Hispanics to Biden’s 49 percent. 

In Pennsylvania, by late October we had Trump leading by almost three points, after erasing a three-point deficit in mid-October. The RCP average at the time was Biden with seven points. Nate Silver gave the president no chance in the state, with the FiveThirtyEight average giving Biden a safe five-point gap. 

On November 1 in Michigan, we said in an InsiderAdvantage poll that Trump was closing the gap with Joe Biden, who led by just two points. FiveThirtyEight gave Biden a 7.9-point lead. Biden is said to have won Michigan by 2.7 points and that is also subject to challenges. 

Matt Towery of InsiderAdvantage said at the time: “The national trend we are seeing with Trump performing at historic levels for a GOP nominee among African Americans continues in Michigan where Trump has nearly 21 percent of the African American vote.”

In Honorable Company

Again, the Trafalgar Group’s chief pollster Robert Cahaly took much flak from the soothsayers at FiveThirtyEight and the Times’ “Upshot.” Yet, Trafalgar emerges from this election with superstar status. 

American Greatness publisher Chris Buskirk spoke with Cahaly a few weeks before the election, with Cahaly convinced of a “shy Trump” vote. 

That much-derided theory is now incontrovertible. Despite four years of mainstream media gaslighting and psychodrama, President Trump drew around seven percentage points more of the popular vote than virtually any mainstream pollster envisaged. 

When two-thirds of Americans, especially those of a conservative or center-right bent, feel they cannot express their true opinion without social consequence, a shy vote is inevitable. It’s whether one chooses to see what is in front of one’s nose that counts. 

As in 2016, mainstream pollsters are now busy formulating their latest model, the one of plausible excuse. 

We know what happens next. Fast-forward four years, Republican nominee Ron DeSantis trails Kamala Harris by six points and is losing even his home state of Florida. Harris, after much rancor, won the Democratic nomination after President Joe Biden, mired by recession and ruthless assaults from his party’s progressive wing, stepped down. 

The mainstream media and pollsters talk of the first female president. Kamala Harris is assured victory. 

Of course, nobody except the most gullible believes the polls. DeSantis wins the White House, completing the Republican midterm takeover of the House of Representatives.

Nobody gave the polls a look. They learned their lesson. 

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About Christopher Gage

Christopher Gage is a British political journalist and a founding member of the Gentlemen of the Swig. Subscribe to his Substack, "Oxford Sour."

Photo: Bortonia/Getty Images

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