It’s probably the case that every human being has experienced recurring nightmares and for some political observers this election is shaping up to be yet another disaster, for Democrats. One might think all Americans were aware that polling and election outcome predictions are not reliable, especially after the past two or three election cycles where Democrats were crushed in congressional and state-level races even after outrageous reporting that Republican governors, legislators and state representatives were destroyed by this or that Democrat leading up to voting day. This nightmare scenario is raising its ugly head and it appears that only Nate Silver is aware that Democrats are lying to themselves if they think Donald Trump can’t defeat Hillary Clinton.
Democrats know Nate Silver and yet it appears they have little regard for an “ominous warning” he recently issued:
“There’s still a lot of denial among Democrats about how tight the race has become, despite evidence from high-quality polls.”
One of the big problems, and it is huge, is that although many voters claim they don’t support Trump and are highly-unlikely to vote for him in public, when queried anonymously, they do support the television celebrity and will be ticking a box with his name next to it in November. But, one might say, the polls show Hillary crushing Trump and pundits keep claiming the Republican Party is all but destroyed. However, according to experts like Thomas Edsall, some Trump voters are lying to the pollsters. In a prescient, but ignored op-ed a couple of months back, Mr. Edsall asked, “How Many People Support Trump but Don’t Want to Admit It?” The answer is probably a lot, and a lot means a Clinton win is not nearly as likely as Democrats want to believe.
There is something known amongst pollsters as “social desirability bias; the desire of respondents to avoid embarrassment.” Some voters refuse to tell a live interviewer that they support a candidate like Trump because he is offensive and outrageous. But like most establishment Republicans publicly rejecting Trump and claiming to support Hillary Clinton, once they’re in the privacy of the voting booth on November 8, they will, without hesitation, cast their secret ballot for every Republican up and down the ballot; including the Republican candidate for president.
According to real experts, in matchups between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Trump does much better in polls that are conducted online where a respondent, in the privacy of their computer screen, can tick a box next to Trump’s name sans embarrassment. In fact, it is a completely different story when they are faced with responding to a human being’s voice in person-to-person polls by landline and cellphone surveys.
To make the point clearer, Real Clear Politics aggregated 10 separate telephone polls giving Hillary Clinton a respectable nine point national advantage over Trump. However, the combined results of two online surveys conducted by YouGov and Morning Consult, Clinton’s lead fell to only four points. It’s why Nate Silver is right in saying Democrats are in denial if they think Donald Trump can’t win in November.
To re-emphasize the point, Nate Silver ran a national presidential poll about two weeks ago and to say the results are shocking is an understatement. In telephone calls where a live person asks a respondent to “disclose their preference to a living person,” Hillary Clinton polls at a very strong 86 percent. However, in Silver’s online and “robo” polls conducted over the Internet and in private, Clinton polls a whopping 15 percent lower, coming in at only 71 percent.
Where Democrats and liberal pundits alike have to start being honest is admitting that no matter how offensive and dangerous Donald Trump may be, and he certainly is both, he is the Republican Party standard bearer. That he is a racist, bigot, misogynist and inept at everything just endears him a bit more to the preponderance of ignorant Americans who will flock to the polls to vote for a celebrity they’ve watched on their televisions.
Americans are also memory challenged besides ignorant and all of the offensive and hateful remarks by Trump, even targeting Veterans and women, are already long-forgotten by many prospective voters. Remember, that even after shutting down the government six months before the 2014 midterms, Republicans who pundits claimed were finished easily won their races.
Democrats can never assume the voters are dependable according to their responses in polls and surveys, but they can, and damn well should assume that when they hit the voting booth in November the preponderance of racists, religious, and bigoted Republicans and their independent or first-time voting brethren will pull the lever or tick the box for the Republican. That his name is Donald Trump is of no consequence; he will have an “R” beside his name and he promised to protect their Christian heritage and make America great again. It is meaningless to informed Americans, but it cements the deal for conservatives.
This article was originally set for publication Sept. 15, 2016