In the lead-up to the last presidential election, conservative bloggers thought they had discovered a grand conspiracy among pollsters to suppress Mitt Romney’s polling numbers, a claim that Romney’s campaign appeared to have embraced as well, and declared that the polls must be “unskewed” to find the truth.
Of course, the polls, if anything, underestimated President Obama’s lead, and conservatives who urged Romney supportersnot to believe the polls and instead to expect a Romney landslide were, at least briefly, mocked and humiliated.
One such person who promoted the idea that polls were biased against Romney was Donald Trump, who said that polling firms oversampled Democrats to create an anti-Romney narrative:
All these polls released by news outlets are oversampling Democrats. They want to influence public perception of the race.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2012
Several Trump backers also believe that the polls, which uniformly show him trailing Clinton, have been skewed against him.
Yesterday, radio host Alex Jones and WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah urged Jones’ listeners not to believe the polls showing Trump trailing Clinton, saying that in reality the two are either neck-and-neck or Trump has a double-digit lead.
Jones said that liberals are “attacking” and “stabbing people” in hopes of intimidating Trump supporters from voting because they know “Trump’s going to win with a Reagan-style landslide.” Trump campaign sources, according to Jones, tell him that “Hillary is just trying to act like she’s really winning and have the media say it because they’re looking at stealing the election.”
The bogus polls, he said, will help Clinton get away with the theft. He added that he wears his Trump hat in “communist areas” to inspire people to be more open about their support for the presumptive GOP nominee.
Farah agreed that polls aren’t to be trusted, adding that he knows Trump is ahead based on his analysis of “anecdotal relationships,” warning that “if they steal the election from him it’s all over, America’s over.”
Oliver Willis of Media Matters also found conservative pundits such as Sean Hannity and Jim Hoft alleging that the polls are skewed against Trump, just as they falsely claimed that the polls were skewed against Romney :
On Fox News host Sean Hannity’s official website, a blog post complained the poll “is heavily skewed.” On his June 27 radio show, Hannity cited the partisan breakdown and described it as a “misleading poll” because the media is “in the tank for Hillary.”
Hannity apparently didn’t learn his lesson about attempting to unskew polls in 2012, when he was saying things like, “These polls are so skewed, so phony, that we need to start paying attention to what’s going on so that you won’t be deflated.”
In a post purporting to highlight “More Polling Tricks” from an “EXTREMELY SKEWED” poll, conservative blogger Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit complained this week that “Reuters freighted their poll with 20 percent more Democrats than Republicans” and concluded that “we can safely say that Trump appears to be in much better shape than the poll suggests and could likely be headed to a landslide victory in November.”
Hoft made a similar argument in September of 2012, complaining that a CNN poll showing Obama leading Romney “drastically oversampled Democrats to get this stunning result.” He then went on to cite Dean Chambers, who said that when “unskewed” the CNN poll showed Romney leading by eight percent.