Many conservatives have questioned the sincerity of mainstream polling data, pointing to over-sampling of Democrats, or more ambiguously, ties to Democratic donor George Soros, as a way to skew national polls in favor of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in hopes to suppress voter turnout for Republican nominee Donald Trump.
While there may be evidence of over-sampling and genuine concerns over “opinion polling,” the latest suggestion that WikiLeaks has uncovered the Democratic “playbook” to “rigging” national polling seems to be more complicated at second glance.
In an email dated January 10, 2008, Democratic officials speak of “oversampling” as a way to “maximize” the media for their candidate at hand, Hillary Clinton. The attachment to the email is seemingly even more damning, explaining step-by-step how to over-sample certain demographics in different areas to “rig” the poll into some sort of victory.
“Hey, when can we meet? I also want to get your Atlas folks to recommend oversamples for our polling before we start in February. By market, regions, etc. I want to get this all compiled into one set of recommendations so we can maximize what we get out of our media polling,” wrote Tom Mattzie, in the leaked email.
While that might sound rather insidious, the polling being discussed here is reportedly polling data used by campaigns internally, directing them on how to target certain voters. The data is being specifically obtained via The Atlas Project, an online, openly progressive data company which “combines the institutional memory of the progressive movement with current expert analysis and cutting-edge data visualization to ensure efficient, effective decisions that result in progressive victories.” This polling is seemingly separate from any national mainstream media polling.
The Washington Post explains further:
“Mattzie’s talking about polling that’s done by campaigns and political action committees to inform media buys. In other words, before campaigns spend $200,000 on a flight of TV spots, they’ll poll on the messages in those ads and figure out what to say to whom and then target that ad to those people as best they can… Normal polling in a state will usually have no problem getting enough white people in the mix to evaluate where they stand, but you may need to specifically target more black or Hispanic voters to get a statistically relevant sample size.”
It appears that Mattzie is likely referring to “Native Americans and Democrat-leaning independents and moderate Republican women.”
Again, this is not to say direct evidence of over-sampling in national polls is somehow void, but only that the claim that this attachment via WikiLeaks is not direct evidence of national poll-rigging, as some have suggested.
To view the attachment of the not-so-damning email, click here.