Election Polling: Only public opinion matters


Donald Trump is reportedly angry at allies and supporters who have conceded to the media in recent days that Trump lost the first presidential debate. Trump is also mad at the media for reporting that he lost the debate, and for dismissing online post-debate polls which Trump and his campaign have touted as a clear signal of his victory. But it’s not only Trump supporters who say he lostAll scientific polls, market indicators and all reported focus groups evinced his defeat. And no, Trump did not win any post-debate “polls”. Trump won online marketing.

Therefore, Donald Trump is partially correct. Ultimately it does not matter what the media believes or what Trump’s supporters believe, it matters what the American public believes. And research provides evidence which suggests media reporting of Clinton’s victory could in fact bias public opinion polls, as has been suggested by Trump surrogates. Furthermore, those numerous online polls cited by Trump and others cannot be completely dismissed out of hand. They are unscientific, not representative of likely voters and do not provide a complete picture of the American electorate heading into Election Day, but they are measures of public opinion. Thousands of American citizens did believe Donald Trump won the debate and voiced their opinion in these polls. Millions of Americans will vote for Donald Trump on November 8th.

Donald Trump is losing ground in the presidential race, however. Four scientific, national polls have been conducted since the debate, they all show Hillary Clinton gaining support. Since the debate Public Policy Polling has conducted surveys in battleground states which provide evidence that the debate gave Clinton a big boost in these key electoral states. Additionally, following weeks of steady decline the odds of victory for Clinton have been increasing since the debate.

Donald Trump is correct, public opinion is all that matters come Election Day. And the American electorate thinks he lost.


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