National polls have Joe Biden ahead. State polls are tightening, but still give him an edge. However, Trump is outperforming his polling in 2016 in many battleground states. Is Trump headed for another surprise victory? According to pollster Frank Luntz, if Trump defies the polls again, his “profession is done.”
“I hate to acknowledge it, because that’s my industry — at least partially — but the public will have no faith. No confidence. Right now, the biggest issue is the trust deficit,” Luntz told Bret Baier of Fox News. “Pollsters did not do a good job in 2016. So, if Donald Trump surprises people, if Joe Biden had a 5- or 6-point lead, my profession is done.”
Luntz predicts that despite Trump’s victory in the final debate, Joe Biden will win the presidency.
In 2016, Luntz predicted Hillary would be elected president.
In case I wasn't clear enough from my previous tweets:
Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States. #ElectionNight
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) November 8, 2016
While Luntz has a point that trust in polls will take a huge hit if Trump wins in spite of polling showing him behind, I don’t believe that it will mean the end of the profession. Polling, like any other industry, has to adapt with the times. Without a doubt, pollsters have had trouble understanding Trump’s supporters. Not just how many of them there are, but how enthusiastic they are—particularly compared to Biden supporters.
The polling industry will have to earn back its trust from the public in the wake of a Trump victory, but that won’t stop campaigns from hiring pollsters or politicos endlessly consuming polls. The data might be off, but we all still love looking at data because it gives us an idea of where things are. If polling was an exact science, every pollster would have similar results all the time. But that doesn’t happen, does it?
Maybe the end of the polling industry wouldn’t be a bad thing, but I don’t think it will happen.
Matt Margolis is the author of the new book Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump, and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis