Perhaps more than any presidential candidate in United States history, Donald Trump has praised the polls. When he led the Republicans in the primary election season, he incessantly referred to the polls, boasting about his apparent success at his rallies across the country. When he secured the Republican nomination, he continued with the same rhetoric, citing polls that showed him beating or within a margin of error to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The American polling obsession contributes to the horse-race election coverage we have all come to accept as standard. Every day, a news outlet releases a poll that claims to be more accurate than the last, giving networks and journalists something to write about and providing major media companies with bait for the headlines that ultimately deliver ratings necessary for profit.
Despite his frequent praise for the polls, Trump has since made a marked shift, stating yesterday that he no longer accepts the polls as valid. "Even though we're doing pretty good in the polls, I don't believe the polls anymore," he declared to a crowd in Colorado yesterday. He justified his shift by explaining that the media hides polls depicting his success and instead focuses on those that show Hillary out in front. Acknowledging that his poll numbers have fallen drastically over the past two weeks, he reassured his supporters that his campaign is still very much alive. "Believe me, folks, we're doing great. If we keep our spirit, and if we go out and win."
The Republican candidate then pointed out that his rallies continue to be packed, and thus the polls depicting him behind must be wrong. "This rally," he exclaimed, "set up just a short while ago, look at the number of people packed." He mocked Hillary for being unable to have the same number of fans at her rallies, which, as anyone in the political arena could tell you, is not even a slight gauge of electoral success. But, he must be doing well if his rallies are full, right?
Well, not according to the polls. Recent estimates find that Hillary maintains a 9% lead over Trump nationally and is handedly defeating him in key swing states. In fact, she is even within striking distance of Trump in Texas, a state that has not elected a Democrat to the White House in decades. The fact that she may turn a categorically red state into blue territory is most certainly a reflection of Trump’s lack of appeal among true conservative voters.
Trump also continued the narrative that there is a major conspiracy against him and his supporters, as the American media, financial institutions, and political elites are colluding to defeat him. "They are so worried. That's why they've become vicious and hostile and dirty. Because they see what's going on.”
Pundits have analyzed Trump’s shift with contempt. A candidate who once praised the polls when he was ahead has decided that he doesn’t like them when he is behind. Anyone so willing to abandon principles so viscerally is certainly not fit to run the country.
What do you think about Trump declaring that he no longer believes in the polls?