Conservative Review - The Biggest Scam of the 2016 Election

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The Biggest Scam of the 2016 Election

By: Steve Deace | October 12th, 2015

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Let’s go ahead and state this right up front, because there’s no other way to spin this. 

Either the media and the Republican National Committee charged with overseeing the debate participation criteria are guilty of a negligence bordering on malfeasance, or they are conspiring together to gerrymander the outcome of the 2016 nomination.

How else do you explain the systemically flawed process of permitting public opinion polls, with questionable accuracy, to determine which candidates in a crowded field get access to a debate stage with over 20 million potential voters watching? As well as how the air-time is doled out for those candidates who do qualify? 

Yet these are the very entities we are using to decide which candidates for the highest office in all the land get a fair hearing before the American people?

These are the same polls whose very pollsters have said in not one, but two major media outlets in recent days they don’t trust their own findings. Furthermore, the granddaddy of all polling firms, Gallup, just announced it is pulling out of the primary polling business altogether because it doesn't believe its own methodology is reliable. Gallup also says it may discontinue polling before the general election next year for the same reason. And this news all comes on the heels of the bulk of the public polling industry also admitting it misread the 2014 electorate.

Yet these are the very entities we are using to decide which candidates for the highest office in all the land get a fair hearing before the American people?

Look at it this way. We’re saying a guy like Rick Santorum, who in the last primary cycle won 11 states and finished second in 15 others, can't get treated as a real candidate because he has two percent less than someone else in a polling average not even trusted by the pollsters themselves.

That is the biggest scam of the 2016 cycle, and there isn’t a close second. I’m actually hoping this is an attempt to gerrymander the outcome, because treachery is probably a better explanation than just complete and total incompetence.

Lest anyone think the problems with these primary polls are a recent phenomenon, have a gander at recent history. During the 2008 cycle, Rudy Giuliani led the national polling done by Fox, NBC News/The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and USA Today/Gallup through mid-December. But he didn’t win a single state. He didn’t even finish second once.

Four years ago, Herman Cain led the Zogby, CBS News, Politico, Rasmussen, The Economist, Fox, and Quinnipiac national polls throughout October. He was out of the race just two months later before a single vote was cast.

And a month before the 2012 Iowa Caucuses, Newt Gingrich soared to 38 percent in the Rasmussen Poll, which was the high water mark any Republican had attained in that survey up until that point. But one month later on caucus night, Gingrich finished a distant fourth with 13 percent.

Here are the three major problems using these polls causes:

1. It creates self-fulfilling prophecies.

A favorite trick of the liberal media is to cover one of its pet causes to death, and then conduct a poll after inundating the public with its propaganda in order to get the results it wants. In this case the polls become a reflection of the image they’re casting.  A CNN study back in August found Donald Trump was receiving double the media coverage of his primary competitors and, voila, he’s now routinely beating them in the media polling that has followed. What a shocking result.

I happen to think the Trump phenomenon is real, but it’s because of the crowds he’s drawing on the campaign trail and not these phony polls. I submit to you that if the media covered a politically transgendered Republican like Lindsey Graham, or a previously unknown candidate like Jim Gilmore, twice as much as anyone else they’d be leading the media polls, too.

Speaking of Trump, I even find the timing of the polling industry admitting its weaknesses suspicious. For months now, many of these same pollsters were predicting a Trump downfall that never happened. Now all of a sudden they want to admit their polls that have him ahead aren’t reliable?

Like the chorus to my favorite country song says, don’t urinate on me and tell me it’s raining.

2. It creates low-information voters.  

Someone should conduct a study of how much media coverage is conducted surrounding the findings of these polls compared to actual coverage/analysis of real issues. The results would probably disappoint. No wonder we have legions of low-information voters infesting the electorate.

For example, let’s take a look at two hypothetical candidates.

Candidate A has no real organization in any of the early states that are vital to winning the nomination. However, it’s being reported that Candidate A is “surging” near the top of these public opinion polls.

Candidate B has middling polling numbers, but is the first candidate to successfully blanket organize all of the early states, and also has some of the top fundraising numbers in the entire field.

In this hypothetical scenario, which candidate would you rather be at this stage of the race?

Anybody that knows anything about politics would rather be Candidate B without question, yet if you asked most average Americans which candidate was more likely to win they would say Candidate A.

By the way, this really isn’t a hypothetical. Candidate A is Carly Fiorina. Candidate B is Ted Cruz

Except what’s more important? To be Rand Paul with 2.6 percent in the national Real Clear Politics Polling Average, or Jindal at six percent in the first-in-the-nation caucus state?

3. It disregards state-by-state results, which actually determine the nominee.

One of these phony polls has Bobby Jindal at six percent in Iowa, yet he’s not allowed on the main debate stage because his national phony poll numbers are too low. Except what’s more important? To be Rand Paul with 2.6 percent in the national Real Clear Politics Polling Average, or Jindal at six percent in the first-in-the-nation caucus state?  

But beware of using state polling results, whose track record isn’t much better. Most of the political class treats The Des Moines Register Iowa Poll like it was brought down from on high on stone tablets. However, there’s just one problem. The poll’s on a good run of bad luck.

  • The final Register poll of our 2010 gubernatorial primary had Terry Branstad beating Bob Vander Plaats by 28 points. Two days later Branstad won by just 9 points, and actually lost the congressional district that includes Des Moines.
  • The final Register poll of our historic judicial retention election in 2010 rated that election a toss-up, with slightly more people inclined to vote for all the judges (31 percent) then would vote against them (29 percent). On Election Day the judges lost by 8 points (54-46).
  • The final Register poll of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses had Santorum a distant third place behind Mitt Romney and Ron Paul at 15 percent. Santorum actually won the Iowa Caucuses with 25 percent.
  • Just last year, the final Register poll of our Republican U.S. Senate primary predicted Joni Ernst at 36 percent, and had conservative Sam Clovis in third place at 11 percent. Two days later Ernst finished with 56 percent and Clovis actually finished second with 18 percent.

The data here proves this isn’t a vetting process for the leader of the free world. It’s more like a reality show.

Then again, perhaps it’s only fitting to see a candidate the GOP power-brokers loathe, like Trump, become the perceived frontrunner based mainly on the skewed, polling-induced Overton Window concocted by these same GOP power-brokers.

Steve Deace is a nationally-syndicated talk show host and also the author of the new book “Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again.” You can “like” him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow.

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