Posted: 4:39 am Monday, August 15th, 2016
By Jamie Dupree
Four years ago in the race for President, Republicans were complaining about polls that were “skewed” against Mitt Romney, much as many in the GOP are arguing now that polls are biased against Donald Trump in 2016, as Trump supporters charge pollsters and the media are out to stop their candidate.
Quick question – which party were the polls “skewed” for in 2012?
The answer – Mitt Romney and the Republicans – as most polls actually underestimated the support for President Obama, both nationally and in a number of states.
“The national polls, as it turned out, were not systematically biased against Republican Mitt Romney,” wrote poll expert Harry Enten soon after the 2012 election numbers were in.
And when it comes to 2016, Enten doesn’t see anything unfair going on with the polls either.
Someone: "polls are skewed." Me: "They aren't for x, y, z reason." Someone: "polls are skewed." And that my friends is how it goes…
— (((Harry Enten))) (@ForecasterEnten) August 14, 2016
For some, the idea of another discussion about “skewed” polls is a waste of time.
I thought that we had all agreed after 2012 to stop lying to ourselves about skewed polls and just accept what reality shows.
— Brandon Finnigan (@B_M_Finnigan) August 11, 2016
But for a lot of Trump supporters, they are adamant that the news media is intentionally skewing the polls in favor of Hillary Clinton.
— Ray (@OpenSeasonPod) August 14, 2016
With the head of fox gone now skewed polls all craping on trump all the pundits have been wrong and they are again we know the truth
— the dog pound (@THEDOGPOUND1) August 14, 2016
Polls showing Hillary leading Trump in popularity are skewed because of the PC crowd, people are too embarrassed to admit they are for Trump
— Hillary's Pillory (@BrookeLyman) August 14, 2016
If we go back to 2012, just take a look at where the polling averages were four years ago as shown by Real Clear Politics, when the national polls near the end showed President Obama with less than a one percentage point lead on Mitt Romney.
Let’s review a few numbers from the 2012 election – in some states, the polls were basically right, but in others, the averages were definitely off:
Michigan – averages had Obama +4; actual result was Obama +9.5%
New Jersey – averages had Obama +11.8%; result was Obama +17.7%
Virginia – averages had Obama +0.3%; result was Obama +3.9%
Florida – averages had Romney +1.5%; result was Obama +0.9%
Nevada – averages had Obama +2.8%; result was Obama +6.7%
New Hampshire – averages had Obama +2%; result was Obama +5.6%
North Carolina – averages had Romney +3; result was Romney +2%
Georgia – averages had Romney +10%; result was Romney +7.8%
Colorado – averages had Obama +1.5%; result was Obama +5.4%
Iowa – averages had Obama +2.4%; result was Obama +5.8%
Ohio – averages had Obama +2.9%; result was Obama +3%
As you can see, sometimes the polls were dead on – like in Ohio; but in other key states, the poll averages were not close, like Colorado, New Hampshire, Nevada, Virginia and Florida.
So – back to 2016 again – where are we right now? The poll averages for the most part show an edge to Hillary Clinton:
“Don’t let the media fool you. Trump is winning all over,” one of my readers told me on Facebook.
Are the polls skewed? Tell me why, or why not.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.