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BBC Newsnight anchor Emily Maitlis & her shock "new" Donald Trump polls - stupid or just utterly biased?

Tom Winnifrith
Thursday 13 October 2016

Breathlessly Newsnight anchor Emily Maitlis said that two new shock opinion polls begged the question of whether Donald Trump could win the Presidency. She was joined in the studio by a Republican pollster while on video link from inside the Beltway was a smug, patronising Democrat lardbucket. Cripes, I track the polls every day what had Emily in store for us all?.

Emily stressed the polls were new and they showed that in Utah Trump was tied with Hillary Clinton and in Alaska he was just 3 points ahead of the crooked one. Emily pointed out that in 2012 and 2008 the Republicans had won both states by a landslide and thus she put forward the hypothesis that Trump was utterly fecked.

To her credit the Democrat lardbucket rather spoiled the narrative by pointing out that these states were utterly atypical. Utah is the home state of the mormon McMullin and vast numbers of his co-religionists. Romney is a Mormon so locked up that conservative GOP vote last time hence his landslide. The Mormons have never liked Trump. His major crime in their eyes is marrying five times in succession. That is degenerate. Mormons marry five women at the same time. McMullin is polling at 22% in the new poll with Trump and Clinton tied at 26%. Everywhere else in the USA McMullin is getting no votes at all so to say Utah is unusual is an understatement.

Moreover the poll is of just 500 people and was conducted by phone on 10th and 11th October. So it is post debate and sex tapes. But phone polls always understate Trump versus online polling becuase of the "shy Trump factor". For Emily to extrapolate from this tiny sample that Trump was in deep trouble in Utah let alone nationally is over-egging it.

But Alaska is worse. That poll was not "new" at all. It was conducted on October 5th and 6th so is pre sex tapes but also pre debate. It was also a phone poll and also just 500 voters. As a libertarian strong state, Gary Johnson is polling well. So it is also atypical as the Dem lardbucket beltway lady noted. The poll shows Trump on 37% and the crooked one on 34%. But go read the poll report HERE.

Emily neglected to mention its comments on how undecideds are breaking and hence the report comes to the conclusion "not a lot of room for growth for a Clinton Presidency". In other words Trump will win this state easily. Now that really does not fit with Emily's narrative in fact it just says clearly that she is ignoring pertinent facts to lie to her viewers.

The national polls are interesting in that they show that the day of the sex tapes affair was a low point for Trump. Ignoring the CNN & Reuters polls which are skewed by over sampling Dems under undersampling GOP voters the daily tracker to note is Rasmussen which shows Clinton leading by 7 points on Monday (up from just 1 pre sex tapes) but as the sex tapes furore subsided and Trump's debate win sunk in, that lead goes to 5% on Tuesday and 4% by Wednesday. What odds on it being back within the margin of error/"shy" Trump backers by the weekend?

Emily then looked at the swing states Trump has to win to get to the White House. She glossed over Iowa where the last poll showed him 4% ahead in a state Obama won by 5.8% in 2012. That admittedly was pre sex tapes but as the tapes issue has unwound you would assume he is still ahead.

The other swing states that Emily got excited about were Florida where Hillary is 2.8% up but that is a phone poll (of just 533 voters) from the 10th and 11th and Pennsylvania where Hillary is 4% up in the latest poll but it was conducted by phone between October 4 and October 9. In other words it had a good percent of post sex tape respondents but no post debate respondents. And it was a phone poll.

North Carolina showed the crooked one 1% ahead. That poll was just 479 voters conducted October 1 to 6 ie pre tapes but also pre debate. Given the understatement of Trump in phone polls down to shy Trumpers that shows this state ( which Romney won by a tiny majoriry in 2012) is still on a knife edge.

Emily's conclusion: The crooked one is winning the swing states. She might be right to conclude that but equally she might not be, it is far too close for Emily to call as a slam dunk which is what she has been doing all along. 

The national polls are now heading Trump's way in terms of direction, as predicted, as the post sex tapes Hillary bounce slips and as the Trump post debate bounce kicks in. And as more and more damaging material on Hillary emerges. Is a women whose own campaign chairman is now revealed - as of this week - as saying that she views the American people with increasing contempt, really going to capture hearst and minds

And that should indicate that these old polls in the swing states may well understate Trump in a material way. That would be an interesting conversation for Emily to have as it would be based on hard data not just made up conclusions.

Instead Emily "new polls" Maitlis gushed about data that was old and utterly meaningless in a national context from Utah and Alaska and in the case of the latter deliberateloy omitted the pollsters actual conclusion. This begs the question as to whether Miss Maitlis is just plain stupid or whether her inherent liberal bias which allows her to ignore hard facts and data analysis and lie to her viewers just makes her unfit for purpose even at the BBC.

For the record, I do not think she is stupid.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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