Back in 2012, Mitt Romney was reportedly “shellshocked” by his loss to President Obama. “I don't think there was one person who saw this coming,” one adviser said.
Public polling largely showed Romney trailing Obama in key swing states, but Romney’s team “believed the public/media polls were skewed - they thought those polls oversampled Democrats and didn't reflect Republican enthusiasm.” Indeed, many other conservative activists similarly predicted a Romney victory based on the “unskewed” versions of polling results.
While the “unskewing” obviously didn’t work, it seems that Republicans haven’t learned their lesson, as now conservative activists and the GOP presidential nominee himself are once again claiming that the polls are skewed in favor of Democrats.
The pro-Trump website Breitbart decided to conduct its own poll with Gravis Marketing, a conservative polling firm, according to editor-in-chief Alex Marlow , because “polls are often manipulated and spun to create momentum for a particular candidate or issue” and Breitbart wants “to give our readers an accurate assessment on where the American people stand on the key topics and people of the day—without the mainstream media filter.”
Unfortunately, the Breitbart poll only confirmed what other polling outlets have reported: Donald Trump is trailing Hillary Clinton.
Democratic nominee Hillary R. Clinton leads in a four-way contest with 42 percent of the vote, compared to Donald J. Trump with 37 percent, Libertarian Gary Johnson with 9 percent, and 3 percent for Green Party nominee Dr. Jill Stein, according to a Breitbart/Gravis national poll conducted Aug. 9 with 2,832 likely voters.
While Doug Kaplan of Gravis offered his best attempt at spinning the results, it seems that even Breitbart’s attempt to run its own poll failed to find Trump in the lead. However, Trump may take relief in knowing that Gravis has been strongly criticized for its record of inaccurate polling.
Trump, who during the primary season couldn’t go a day without boasting about his poll numbers, now attacks the polls as “phony” and insists that the only way he could lose by Pennsylvania, where he trails by a wide margin, would be “if cheating goes on.” (Voter fraud conspiracy theorists have often leveled bogus claims that the practice occurs in Pennsylvania and nationwide.)
Trump also claims that the entire election may be rigged by massive voter fraud and has encouraged supporters to sign up to be election observers to “stop Crooked Hillary from rigging the election!” He similarly claimed that voter fraud helped Democrats win the 2012 election.
His allies have taken up the charge.
Greta Van Susteren of Fox News wondered if her own network’s poll was biased against Trump, doubting that the GOP nominee is trailing Clinton since his rallies are “big.” Van Susteren’s Fox News colleague Sean Hannity said “Democrats use the liberal media to manipulate and discourage conservatives from voting” and expressed confidence that Trump will win because he’s “doing much better on social media.”
Both Hannity and Breitbart cited the same story from the conservative blog Gateway Pundit, which found that “Trump will win in a landslide” because “Trump has nearly double the amount of ‘Likes’ that Clinton has!”
Trump confidant Roger Stone charged that the polls are skewed to help Clinton in order to hide the fact that she is planning to steal the election, saying that Trump supporters should prepare for protests and a potential “bloodbath” after the election. Trump ally Alex Jones also declared that unskewed polls and Facebook “Likes” prove that Trump is headed for a landslide victory:
If only Facebook “Likes” counted as votes.