Jim Lee, a pollster with Susquehanna Polling and Research, slammed his peers in the polling industry for promoting polling data that he said is “egregiously off” and a form of a “voter suppression.”
Lee predicted that if the turnout for 2020 is what he thinks it will be, President Donald Trump will win another term in the White House — a prediction hardly echoed by his peers in the polling industry.
The pollster argued that the polls showing Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden up by a wide margin in some key states are simply not reflective of reality, especially taking into account the so-called “shy Trump voter.” This same phenomenon, he argued, is what embarrassingly skewed the polling data in 2016.
“When a poll comes out with one candidate, in this case Hillary Clinton, winning by 11 points, when the winner of the race is the other candidate, that is not an outlier: that is bad polling and makes our entire industry look bad,” Lee explained during a panel discussion on WFMZ’s “Business Matters.”
“I called on the American Associated of Public Opinion Research to crack down on egregious polling, to tighten standards for firms that clearly don’t understand the landscape of Pennsylvania,” he continued. “Our [data] showed the race a statistical tie when others had the race at 11 points. Do you think that’s voter suppression? I’m sticking up for the industry; we need to crack down, someone needs to say this is out of control.”
Lee noted the “shy Trump voter” not being accounted for in most mainstream polling.
“Many people called him (Trump) everything from a misogynist to a racist to everything in between,” he detailed. “There are a lot of voters out there that don’t want to admit they are voting for a guy that has been called a racist; that submerged Trump factor is very real.”
“We have been able to capture it, and I’m really disappointed others have not,” he said. “In 2016 the summer and early fall showed Pennsylvania up for grabs. Other firms are putting out leads for Hillary Clinton in double digits; that was never the case in my opinion, and we are seeing it happening now.”
Lee predicted the 2020 race will be far tighter than most pollsters are claiming, adding that Trump will likely win if turnout is what he expects.
“I think it’s going to be a very close race,” Lee said. “I don’t see this as a blue wave. I don’t see Biden winning in the states Trump carried in 2016. We are seeing other firms showing it tighten when, in my opinion, it’s been tight all along. I think Pennsylvania clearly is a battleground. I think the election is going to be decided by a very small electoral vote outcome.”
When pressed by the host to predict a winner, Lee responded, “I can’t call it. If the turnout is going to be what I think, Trump wins it.”
As noted by National Review last week, Robert Cahaly, the chief pollster for the Trafalgar Group — “the only major polling organization that publishes its results and correctly predicted Donald Trump’s 2016 victories in Michigan and Pennsylvania” — predicted that Trump wins in Michigan, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Arizona, and Texas.
Trump will be reelected with roughly 280 electoral votes, Cahaly said.
Partial transcript via RealClearPolitics
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