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The Polls Aren’t the Problem

“The polls are wrong,” they always scream. In 2016, everyone screamed that the polls were wrong. Actually, the Real Clear Politics polling average had Clinton beating Trump by 3.2% of the vote and she actually beat him by 2.1% of the vote.

Of course, what mattered was state by state polling. In Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin Trump was ahead and a 2 to 3% polling margin nationally was not enough to overcome the state level differences. Trump won because of the Electoral College.

In 2018, Republicans yet again screamed that the polling was wrong all the way to Nancy Pelosi becoming Speaker. The polls were right then too.

Well, now the President is roughly ten points behind. His own polling has it. The media polling has it. The polling is no more wrong now than then. And more problematic, a 10 point gap will cross states and will affect places like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Remember, those states already had presidential level turn out in 2018 and decisively went left.

But…

It is June of 2019. The Democratic nominee right now is unchosen and they all have to fight a very bloody primary, consume financial and other resources, and do it all while Donald Trump’s campaign is working to define them. They have to withstand a good economy and an American propensity to let a President have a second term.

The Democratic nominee, as far as the polling is concerned, is generic Democrat. President Trump has problems beating the generic Democrat conjured up in each person’s head. But he will actually be running against a person who he tries to define.

He has time. There’s no reason to panic. But there’s also no reason to scream that the polls are wrong. They are not. They give us a snapshot of right now and they tell the President and his team what they need to do to beat the Democrats.

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