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  • Writer's pictureJoshua Whitfield

A Growing Red Wave Is Looking To Hand The Media & Pollsters Yet Another L.

Updated: Oct 30, 2022

Once again, actual election results will answer serious questions about the integrity of the national polling industry and the mainstream media. However, before we review possible relative outcomes in Election 2022, Let's take a moment to opine about the further deterioration of the national polling complex and its mainstream media backers.

For those few of you that have followed Election Recon since 2020, you know where we stand on the state of polling. For those new to Election Recon, here is a Spoiler Alert: it's absolute garbage. Most Americans who follow politics and elections closely have probably already reached that same conclusion over the last few election cycles. The real question that people should ask is why? Why are the polling industry and the mainstream media so often wrong?

First and foremost, it always comes down to money. In the age of absolute political correctness, wokeism, cancel culture, and echo chamber-feeding narratives, the polarization of the American populace was both predictable and inevitable. The sad result is the demonization of people who dare to think differently than we do in a free society, plaguing discourse and civility everywhere. The media industry, and through them the public polling industry they primarily fund, are not immune from the effects of society today. Pollsters want to stay employed, and with each election, many of their financial benefactors are no longer interested in "getting it right" but are more interested in driving political narrative and propaganda. Many pollsters weigh their polls to lean toward a particular political view, preference, or hope of a specific outcome. Many on the right believe this is some grand conspiracy to affect the outcome of elections. However, that's not the primary motivator or effective at depressing any party's vote. If we use Occam's Razor, it seems more plausible that if a platform provides its fanbase the narrative they want, then the more clicks, views, or listens that platform will get, thus making them more money. American Society has become soft, and too many people cannot handle the stress of hearing their particular political side may lose an election, even if that is the reality. So instead, people will ignore anything they don't want to hear, even at the expense of educating themselves about the truth. With that unfortunate reality about our society, public polling has now started to mirror internal partisan polling with the intent to make money, and it is a significant disservice to the American people. Now, that is not to say that there aren't bad apples who have partisan motivations to drive the national narrative and attempt to put their thumb on the scales of elections. That is indeed happening; it is secondary to the financial argument for many pollsters themselves. Polling remains a business, and pollsters have to make money to survive. It would be fair to counter our argument by pointing out that the media, or people, funding public polls have the motive to affect the national narrative and elections adversely. It is a good thing that Real Clear Politics is taking steps to launch a Polling Accountability Project. We hope that such a prominent and respected platform will finally be holding public polling – publicly accountable. It will be a solid first step towards ending the dumpster fire that has become the polling industry.

Now let's talk about the four relative possible outcomes coming on election night. As we believe this is the Republican's election to lose, we will look at it from their perspective. We will call the four possible outcomes as follows:

  1. A Red Wave.

  2. A Modest Night for GOP.

  3. A Disappointing Night for GOP.

  4. A Devastating Night For GOP.

Here at Election Recon, our model and our team personally believe far more in the first two outcomes. Indeed, the Election Recon model increasingly believes that the Red Wave is on the way. But we must consider that we are also dealing with a drought in public polling across the spectrum this election year. Additionally, many Democrat-leaning pollsters have yet to publicly produce polls this year as they have in elections past. Many election watchers are starting to ask the question, why? One can only speculate, but we believe the most likely answer to that question is that the D-leaning pollsters holding their numbers close are seeing the same Republican strength as the R-leaning pollsters and do not want to publish those results. Our theory here is backed up by the fact that a Democrat Pollster, Data for Progress, has recently released several public polls that all have significant Republican advantages. The two outliers right now on the national generic ballot are polls from Politico-Morning Consult and Economist-YouGov, which have 8-10 points swings against the average of polls depending on whose aggregate you are using. You Gov and Morning Consult will either be the heroes of this election by finding something that all pollsters and forecasters missed, or the far more likely probability is they will be zeros for abhorrently inaccurate polling. The fact is that Republicans have had momentum in most national polling for the past three weeks. More importantly, the voters have consistently held that inflation and crime are their most pressing concerns. Republicans overwhelmingly lead on these issues in virtually every poll, especially with independents and undecided voters. This data point indicates a lousy night for the Democrats nationally. However, for most of this election, the voices in the mainstream media have largely ignored the voters' concerns. They have focused on a fallacious half-argument about how bad Republican-recruited candidates are in the most important races. Of course, that type of analysis is purely subjective because it is the opinion of the talking head and not the voters in the districts these supposed "bad candidates" are running in. The media is not talking about that arguably (albeit still subjective) Democrats have recruited some seriously flawed candidates of their own.

Why has there been no talk (until his recent horrible debate performance) of John Fetterman as an incredibly weak candidate? The Democrat's attempt, supported by the media, to shame voters into electing a cognitively challenged individual to high office is perhaps the most insane election strategy we have ever seen. It is legitimate for voters to consider Mr. Fetterman's disabilities and deficits while deciding if he's fit for high office. Senator Warnock, D-Georgia, has every bit the horrible personal record as the often attacked in the media Herschel Walker, his Republican challenger. Why has there been absolute silence from the media on Warnock's history and a never-ending discussion on Walker's bad actions in the past? Katie Hobbs, the Democrat recruit for Governor of Arizona, is perhaps the worst-positioned candidate on the issues that Democrats could have chosen for the state's historical electoral preferences. Arizona often selects candidates who buck their party, not walk in lockstep with national party lines. (See John McCain and Kyrsten Sinema as examples.) Media discussion on that point: zero. In California's 27th Congressional District, Democrats sent up the two-time loser former Democrat Assemblywoman Kristy Smith against the guy who has beaten her twice, Congressman Mike Garcia. Third-time's a charm is not something we often say in elections. Those who habitually lose elections almost always continue to fail. We could go on and on about the flawed candidates on the Democrat side, but we think you get our point. Neither the Republican nor Democrat Party sent us a clean slate of their best and brightest this year. So circling back to our main topic here about the media's narrative, that Republicans fielded a large group of flawed candidates against a strong bench from the Democrats, was always a fallacious argument created solely by the media's own bias and hypocrisy. Just ask yourselves this question, if the Republicans have the weaker field, why have so many Democrats refused to debate this year? The answer is as simple as it is obvious: they know they are losing on the most critical issues. Many Democrats were forced into the difficult choice of debating despite knowing that they would likely lose, like Raphel Warnock and John Fetterman, or to choose cowardice running from debates, like Katie Hobbs or Rudy Salas (Democrat Candidate in the CA-22).

Perhaps the most damning evidence that Democrats are on their way to a rout this year is looking at where they are spending their money late. The best way to know what the major parties are thinking about their chances - is to follow the money. If internally, Democrats thought they were in a strong position this year, they would be spending money attacking Republicans and expanding their list of targets. Instead, Democrats are spending big money late in what should be safe seats like NY-17, CA-26, or the New Hampshire & Washington Senate seats. Even the Governor of New York appears in some trouble in that Democrat stronghold of a state. When you combine all of that with the fact the leader of the Democrat Party, President Joe Biden, is as unpopular as Trump was in 2018 nationally, well, that adds up to an ass-kicking of the likes we haven't seen since 2010 for the Democrats. All the aforementioned points combined are why, despite their skepticism of Republicans, voters are likely to usher the GOP back into legislative power on a big ol' red wave and ultimately deliver the polling industry a big fat L once again. If the red wave does indeed come, even our Election Recon model, held down by a lack of high-confidence polling and far too many inaccurate polls, will likely underestimate the final result for Republicans in this election, especially in the House.

If election night brings a Red Wave, look for the following results:

21+ Seats Gained for Republicans in the House, a 52+ seat Senate majority for Republicans, and 30+ Republican-controlled Governor's Mansions.

(A growing number of voices are jumping on this boat – see RCP, REP, Rich Baris, Election Recon)

A more modest night for Republicans would look like this:

11-20 Seats Gained for Republicans in the House, a Senate that remains 50-50 or decided perhaps by 1 seat, and still around 29-30 Republican Governors across the nation.

(Most media forecasters are currently here – see CBS, 538, LTE, or Cook Political)

A disappointing night for Republicans would look like this:

5-10 Seats Gained for Republicans in the House, a 52-seat Democrat Senate majority, and still 27-28 Republican Governors across the nation.

(Far too many media forecasters still are here – see NYT, NPR, CNN)

A devastating night for Republicans would look like this:

Democrats are holding onto control of the House by any margin. A 53+ seat Senate majority for Democrats, 26 or fewer Republican Governors across the nation.

(Somehow, there are still believers in this outcome – see Allison Gill, Simon Rosenberg, MSNBC)

Bottom Line:

As the smoke clears heading into Election Day, no one can question that Republicans have significant momentum and that the increasing likelihood is that Republicans will have a modest-to-great night on November 8th. However, don't be shocked if polls underestimate Republicans once again, even if most end up predicting a GOP-favorable electorate. The media still has money to make, and stories of a Republican victory is terrible news for the coffers of the mainstream media, which care a lot more in this decade about selling narratives at the expense of the truth.

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