Trump Keeps Bringing Up Fake Polls Because The Real Ones Show Him Losing

Polling is not a choose-your-own-adventure situation.

Despite declaring earlier this week that he doesn’t “believe the polls anymore,” Donald Trump still likes to cite surveys showing him ahead of Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

His options for finding such polls, though, are limited. Trump is lagging badly in national polls and key battleground states. Snap polls that CNN/ORC and YouGov conducted Wednesday night gave Clinton the win over Trump for the third time in a row.

Yet, Trump tweeted this on Thursday morning:

Unlike the scientific polling that shows Clinton ahead, Trump cites numbers from various news outlets’ reader polls, which allow anyone on a website or social media to weigh in, sometimes repeatedly.

Such “polls” are basically meaningless. As HuffPost reported earlier:

Scientific polls can be conducted by phone, via online panels or some other way, and use a mix of sampling and weighting to make their numbers representative of the larger population whose opinions they’re measuring ― whether that’s all adult Americans, or just likely voters. Recent changes in technology have complicated that process, but the underlying principle remains basically the same.

That’s why, even if a scientific poll reaches relatively few people, it can accurately depict the opinions of a much larger group.

In contrast, reader polls, like those Trump cites...make no such attempt to weight their responses or to represent anything beyond the number of people who happen to have clicked on them...And that’s without getting into what’s possibly the worst problem with reader polls ― there’s often nothing to prevent people from voting multiple times.That leaves them vulnerable to intentional manipulation by people with a vested interest in the outcome ― a fact that some Trump fans took full advantage of.

Reader polls like the ones on the Drudge Report have typically swung for Trump by a hilariously outsized margin, but they may no longer be entirely safe ground for the Republican nominee. Even Breitbart’s reader poll showed Trump behind after Wednesday’s debate. 

When they’re not pointing to online clickbait, Trump and his surrogates have focused on a small handful of scientific surveys, such an experimental Los Angeles Times/USC panel that has produced unusually good results for him. Such polls, however, remain distinct outliers.

HuffPost Pollster, which has aggregated more than two dozen national head-to-head polls in October alone, currently shows Clinton leading by about 7 points.







Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.