New polling from the Washington Post claims that in a hypothetical 2024 matchup between President Biden and Donald Trump, a majority of youth voters would choose Trump. This poll has gotten a lot of media attention and caused a lot of consternation – but mostly for the wrong reasons.
I don’t know how to put this politely, but only a complete moron would believe that Trump is somehow leading Biden with young voters. Youth voters always favor Democrats and more liberal candidates over Republicans and conservative candidates, by huge margins. In the past couple election cycles, we’ve seen youth voters shift even more in favor of the Democrats – including when Biden trounced Trump in the youth vote in 2020.
More to the point, we’re just three months removed from the 2022 midterm elections, in which the Democrats absolutely trounced the Republicans in the youth vote. The notion that this has somehow completely reversed itself in just three months, against all possible historical trends, is just laugh out loud silly.
Yet large chunks of the mainstream media are now hyping this one new poll as if it were legitimate. The media knows better, of course. Anyone with a political IQ above zero knows that this poll is fatally flawed and is off by dozens of points. For that matter, all you’d have to do is look at all the other polls in existence to see that no other polls are showing anything like this. It’s a classic case of the media always hyping the most laughably inaccurate poll of the week, while ignoring all the other polls released that week, simply because controversy and shocking results are good for ratings.
The polls have their own problems, but they’re not the main problem. The media’s dishonest presentation of the polls is the problem. There can be ten new polls showing Smith well ahead of Jones, and one outlier poll showing Jones ahead of Smith, and the media will only hype that one outlier poll. Those ten other polls that are in the same range as each other, and match up with what we know to be true about the real world, are obviously more likely to be correct. But they’re also boring. So instead the media pretends that the one probably-very-wrong poll is the only correct poll, and in fact the only poll period.
As we speak, the Washington Post’s polling experts are surely trying to figure out why they ended up with such an obviously and laughably wrong result, and are revising their methodology so they don’t embarrass themselves again. Yet even as this plays out, various other media outlets are now hyping that same faulty Washington Post poll as if it were the most true thing of all time.
The main reason many of you distrust the polls so much is that the media only ever shows the most obviously incorrect wrong polls and insists they’re absolutely correct. And then when the election results are way off from the isolated faulty polls that the media showed you, you mistakenly blame polling! In these instances, the overall polling averages often predict the election results pretty accurately.
Your job is to always remember that the media is always lying to you about what the polls even say. Don’t just yell simplistic stupid things like “I don’t trust the polls.” Always remember to ignore whatever the media is claiming about the polls, and instead go look up the polling averages for yourself each time. You’ll find that what the media claims the polls are saying, and what the polls are actually saying, are usually two completely different things.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report