A new Quinnipiac poll says that a large percentage of young voters disagree with President Biden’s decision to send aid to Israel. The polls have taken a beating lately, after so many recent polls have produced suspicious-sounding results based as a result of absurdly oversampling or undersampling certain demographics. But this new Quinnipiac poll may well be accurate.
Here’s the thing, though. We just had an election. And while neither Joe Biden nor Israel were on the ballot, Biden’s Democratic Party was on the ballot. And young voters across the nation turned out in record-setting numbers just to vote for the Democratic Party. And they’ll turn out in record numbers again in November 2024, for the same reasons they turned out in record numbers in November 2023 (and 2022 and 2020 before that): abortion rights, climate change, LGBT rights, the Democratic Party’s association with wanting to remain a democracy, and the Republican Party’s association with Trump and authoritarianism.
It’s pretty obvious that however young voters feel about the U.S. sending aid to Israel, they still intend to turn around and vote for the Democratic Party in overwhelming numbers in every election, for as long as the parameters between the two parties remain what they are. We just saw proof of this four days ago. So while this new poll about aid to Israel may be accurate, and may be important in terms of the specific issue at hand, it also seems to be irrelevant in terms of the 2024 election. If young voters were looking to teach Biden a lesson about Israel, wouldn’t they have done it on Tuesday? Instead they voted to hand Biden and his party more power.
Yet a major liberal news outlet just ran a headline proclaiming that young voters are “Disgusted With Biden over Israel,” citing the poll at hand. The headline makes it sound like Biden has lost the youth vote, which would mean he’s doomed in 2024. But did it look like he lost the youth vote on Tuesday?
The real problem here isn’t the polls. The real problem is the media’s inaccurate and disingenuous coverage of the polls. Any serious person would look at this poll about Biden and Israel, put it within the youth voter turnout this week, and conclude that youth voters are making their voting decisions based on Israel. If anything this poll proves that Biden won’t have a youth voter problem in 2024. They disagree with him about Israel and yet they’re still lining up around the block to vote for his Democratic Party every chance they get.
Yet we’ll continue to see nonsensically hyperbolic headlines like this, falsely claiming that polling data means something other than what it means. We’ll also continue to see the entire media unanimously hype the occasional polls that claim Trump is ahead of Biden, while unanimously ignoring the much larger number of polls that say Biden is ahead of Trump.
How accurate are the polls to begin with? It’s difficult to say. But while the polls have their problems, the far bigger problem is that the media keeps actively misleading us about what the polls are even saying. When we focus solely on the problems with the polls themselves, we let the media off the hook for lying to us about the polls.
If the weather forecasting software says there’s a 20% chance of rain, but the weatherman decides to chase ratings by lying and claiming that the software says there’s an 80% chance of rain, you’d consider the real problem to be the fact that the weatherman is lying to you. You’d jump all over that problem, and get the weatherman fired, before even worrying about whether the software is accurate to begin with.
It should be the same way with political polling. If eight out of ten polls say that Biden is ahead of Trump, but the media only tells us about the two outlier polls that have Trump ahead, while intentionally misleading us about the fact that the other eight polls even exist, that’s exactly the same thing as the weatherman lying about what the weather forecasting software says.
The polls have their problems, but they’re not the problem. The problem is that the entire media spends every day lying to us about what the polls even say. Until we understand the difference, and directly take the fight to the media for lying to us about the polls, this problem will only get worse.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report