By Dave Andrusko
As of today, 99 days until the November 3 elections. As always, we’ll try to place the presidential contest in context, rather than blindly follow the polls which can be—and are—misleading.
*To begin with—and this is No Shocker—pro-abortion former Vice President Joe Biden is not interested in coming out of his bubble to be interviewed by Fox News’ Chris Wallace. As you may have read, pro-life President Donald Trump did submit to Wallace’s grilling.
Over the weekend Wallace told his audience that the Biden campaign said the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee is “not available” for an interview. “We’ll keep asking every week,” the host of Fox News Sunday said just before he signed off.
“The fact is, the president is out there. He’s out there in this broiling heat with me for an hour, he took all the questions,” Wallace told colleague Bret Baier. “You can like his answers or dislike them, but he had answers and Joe Biden hasn’t faced that kind of scrutiny, hasn’t faced that kind of exposure.”
And, of course, unless—or as I have maintained until—the polls show a narrowing of Biden’s lead, there is zero chance Biden would sit down for a face to face. Assume for a second that Wallace would (as he did with President Trump) “fact check” Biden’s answers, it could very grim, assuming (and I am not kidding) you could understand Biden’s answers.
Even CBS News White House reporter Kathryn Watson tweeted
“Trump sat down with interviewer extraordinaire Chris Wallace. Why can’t Biden do the same? Wallace is tough but fair. And obviously he’s not trying to spin things in favor of Trump, despite his network’s inclinations overall.”
*The polls, of course, must (a) be taken with many grain of salt and (b) put in context. Part of the context is that Democrats and their legion of media sympathizers operate on two tracks. One, they attempt to discourage Trump voters, and, two, they also try to at least pretend they are not wildly over-confident.
A genuine Trump-hater, a man who posts under the name Allahpundit at HotAir conceded Sunday
Another way to look at them [the polling numbers] is that he’s had the political equivalent of three nuclear bombs dropped on him — COVID, the recession, and widespread civil unrest — and he’s still within single digits of the lead. He doesn’t need to erase Biden’s lead in order to win, either. Getting within three points or so in the popular vote could be enough for him to reprise 2016 and squeak through in the swing states again.”
All he has to do is trim five points off of his current deficit.
He added, “The polling news this morning bears out his [Nate Silver’s] and [Cook Political Report’s Dave] Wasserman’s belief that POTUS isn’t licked yet. Trump trails in three new swing-state polls from CNN and one from NBC but in only one case is Biden’s lead daunting [Michigan].”
By contrast, David Catron offered a more encouraging analysis for President Trump based on research that was new to me but apparently well-established in academic circles. [Underlining is mine.]
Lately, pollsters and pundits have been nervously pondering the following question: “If Trump is behind in the polls, why do most voters say, in the same surveys, that he will win the upcoming election?” As Harry Enten recently noted at CNN, “An average of recent polls finds that a majority of voters (about 55%) believe that Trump will defeat Biden in the election. Trump’s edge on this question has remained fairly consistent over time.” This is far more than mere statistical curiosity by number nerds. Several peer-reviewed studies have shown that surveys of voter expectations are far more predictive of election outcomes than polls of voter intentions.
Catron quoted one study which concluded
Our primary dataset consists of all the state-level electoral presidential college races from 1952 to 2008, where both the intention and expectation question are asked. In the 77 cases in which the intention and expectation question predict different candidates, the expectation question picks the winner 60 times, while the intention question only picked the winner 17 times. That is, 78% of the time that these two approaches disagree, the expectation data was correct.
There are various explanations/speculations for the discrepancy between alleged preference and prediction who would win. In a separate post, Catron argued that a recent poll conducted for the Cato Institute clearly demonstrates that in today’s climate, far more conservatives and moderates than liberals hold beliefs they fear to voice—they self-censure.
After citing how this self-censorship transcends boundaries you wouldn’t expect, Catron concludes
Trump’s silent majority is real, and it is much larger than it was four years ago. What should scare the pants off any sentient Democrat is the number of Latinos (65 percent) and black Americans (49 percent) who self-censor. For them, there is no risk of social ostracism for supporting Biden or any other Democrat. The only plausible reason for their reticence is support for Trump. The president is about to make history with the magnitude of his victory and, more importantly, who will vote for him.