Even Trump's favorite pollster thinks the election looks bad for him

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Peter Weber
·2 min read
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"When President Trump talks about polling, his focus is very much on survey-takers that he thinks are good for him," Maggie Haberman reports at The New York Times. And those that show him trailing Democratic nominee Joe Biden — "virtually all national polls — are simply 'fake news.'" The polls that "matter" for Trump "seem to boil down to Rasmussen Reports, which consistently — and in isolation — has a rosier picture for the president nationally than other surveys do, and the Trafalgar Group," Haberman notes.

On Monday, Scott Rasmussen said "the data clearly suggests that when all the votes are counted, Joe Biden will be the president-elect." And that data includes Rasmussen's own polling.

Rasmussen wrote at PoliticalIQ that his national polling over the past month has "consistently shown the former vice president with a 7 or 8 point advantage," much stronger than Hillary Clinton's lead in 2016, and his final polls show Biden ahead by 7 points in Michigan, 6 points in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, 4 points in Florida, and 1 point in North Carolina. "Bluntly," he added, "the president cannot be re-elected without winning both" Florida and North Carolina.

Look, "if you think that polling is irrevocably broken because of 2016 — well, that's not really correct," Nate Silver writes in his final election forecast at FiveThirtyEight. "On the other hand, if it weren't for 2016, people might look at Joe Biden's large lead in national polls — the largest of any candidate on the eve of the election since Bill Clinton in 1996 — and conclude that Trump was certain to be a one-term president." It isn't certain — Trump could still win.

Trump and his advisers certainly see a path to victory, the Times reports. As Trump crams in a final flurry of rallies in swing states, he "has drawn encouragement from his larger audiences and from a stream of relatively upbeat polling information that advisers have curated for him, typically filtering out the bleakest numbers," the Times reports. That fits with Trump's "choose-your-own-adventure approach to polling that has shown little understanding of data science," Haberman adds. Trump "treats voter support as a mystical, rather than a mathematical, proposition."

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