Politics US Election

Is Hillary Deluding Herself With Establishment Polls?

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(Originally published February 1, 2016)Hillary polls 7

With the Iowa and New Hampshire caucuses right around the corner, Bernie Sanders is in the throes of battle against the establishment’s candidate, Hillary Clinton. The race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is indicative of a deep divide within the Democratic Party. Clinton has been deemed the establishment’s “inevitable candidate.” Alternatively, Sanders represents the little guy and believes in investing in the middle class and America’s crumbling infrastructure. Despite the mainstream media’s claim that Bernie Sanders cannot win, a deeper look at establishment poll methodology and consumption of mainstream news proves otherwise.

Besides the sweeping and largely unfounded claim that Sanders isn’t electable, American mainstream media has also done it’s best to ignore Sanders as much as possible. Media Matters reports that Bernie’s Republican and Democratic rivals were granted hundreds more minutes of coverage than Sanders. However, the enormous crowds Bernie has been drawing have made him hard to ignore. So, when the mainstream press does rarely address Sanders, it tactfully uses Establishment polling, which is tremendously flawed because the polls do not adequately represent Millennial views. Therefore, Mainstream media has exaggerated Clinton’s lead throughout the primary by using flawed polls. Using flawed polls to announce winners of debates and predict electability is significant because there is a very good argument that many Democratic voters will choose the candidate that is more likely to beat the Republican candidate in the general election. So, in terms of electability, polls matter.

Bernie will win in Iowa if Millennials vote. In a New York Times piece titled, “Bernie Sanders Courts Elusive Voters: Young Iowans,” Jason Horowitz and Yamiche Alcindor assert that Sanders’s greatest challenge is getting Millennials, or voters ages 18- 30, to vote. Generally, Millennials do not vote in primary elections. However, Horowitz and Alcindor assert that Millennial voters are more likely to vote in extraordinary primary elections. In 2008, the Millennial vote won Obama the primary election. His numbers rose 11%, which was enough to beat Hillary. If Millennials were largely the reason Obama won 2008’s primary, then it certainly follows that Bernie’s experience, advocacy, and authenticity in fighting for the middle class are sure to win over Millennials in 2016.

The takeaway here is that Millennials are largely the demographic that will make or break Sanders’ campaign – and yet they are largely underrepresented in the polls because they are harder to reach than other voters. The problem of Millennial underrepresentation in the polls and millennial consumption of independent news has created the perfect storm for a Bernie Sanders victory.

The reality is that Millennials do not consume mainstream news. In a Politico piece titled, “May Cable News Ratings Spare No One,” Hadas Gold cites the latest study on the demographic of mainstream media viewers. Gold writes, “The average Fox News viewer overall is 68.8, while the average ages of MSNBC and CNN viewers were 62.5 and 62.8, respectively.” When Bernie’s target audience is 18-30 year olds, mainstream is likely to have little or no impact on the views of Millennials.

The mainstream media’s inability to reach Bernie’s key demographic will cost Hillary the election. Millennials consume independent media because they find cable news to be inauthentic and more like establishment propaganda. When the largest US television news outlets are owned by the wealthiest people in the nation, and even the world, it becomes clear mainstream news isn’t concerned with facts. It is concerned with keeping the status quo.

There’s a glaring disparity between establishment polls and independent polls. Independent polls are largely conducted through self-reporting online. Establishment polls are generally gathered using phone banks. An objective look at both types of polling indicate that both methods have weaknesses but the weakness of establishment polls is fatal when it comes to predicting a Democratic winner. Independent polls can be taken by anyone, not necessarily a voter, which can skew electability projections. Establishment polls conducted using phone banks are problematic because anyone who only has a cell number is automatically excluded. The phone bank problem is significant in the Democratic primary because one of the biggest demographics of Sanders supporters, Millennials ages 18-30, do not have a landline and, therefore, their support is largely underrepresented.

Fox News’s polling methods are underrepresenting Millennials. Even though Fox
News tries to poll cell phone owners, the methodology is seriously flawed because cell phone holders are only about a quarter of all respondents interviewed. Of the cell phone respondents, it is unclear how many of them are part of the key demographic necessary to make adequate predictions about the Democratic primary. The following screen shot was taken directly from Foxnews.com:


CNN is merely using telephones: not cellphones. This type of Polling fails to take into account college-age students without landlines. The potential significance this could have of the outcome of establishment polls is huge. In 2008, NBC estimated 14.5% of adults live in households without landlines. Here, in 2016, that number is likely to be even higher and CNN has essentially eliminated them from the polling.


The sweeping generalization that nearly every household in America has a landline is lacking foundation. The screen shot below was taken directly from CNN.com:
NBC.com says that sometimes it uses phone banks and sometimes it pays for numbers from 3rd parties.


Interestingly, NBC was the only establishment outlet that identified that there indeed is a controversy about polling cell-phone only respondents. The screenshot below was taken directly from NBC.com:

As shown above, each of the establishment polling methodologies are problematic because they cannot adequately poll Millennials.
Alternatively, independent polls are more likely to reach Millennials than
establishment polls. For example, in a poll taken on Syracuse.com on January 26, the poll asked participants to pick the winner of the Democratic Town Hall Forum. Bernie wins by an absolute landslide with 88% of the vote. See screen shot below:


CNN’s coverage and analysis after the Town Hall Forum on Monday was dismal at best. CNN, also known for its biases toward the Clintons, the pundits immediately declared Hillary the winner of the forum. It is true that to compare one online poll from Syracuse to the army of reporters employed by CNN is not enough assert that CNN was purposely favoring Clinton.


However, after the 4th Democratic debate, television news stations touted Hillary as the winner of the debate. Online news sources differed. The following picture shows 5 different polls administered immediately after the debates. The participants were asked who won the 4th democratic debate. (Note that the Independent polls were open for up to 24 hours after the debate and the final tally is likely to be different. However, the purpose addressing the 5 online polls is to show the glaring disparity between cable news commentary and the perception of the average American.)


Time.com, whose magazine snubbed Bernie of cover for Person of the Year and instead chose Angela Merkel, has Bernie winning at 87%. On Politico.com, Bernie came in at 70%. NPR.com shows Bernie at 72%. Similarly, Huffington Post polled Bernie at 71%. San Diego, California’s FOX 5 news website shows Bernie at a whopping 94%. This is a stark contrast to establishment news.


In each poll, Bernie overwhelmingly wins by at least 50%. So, why was it that CNN automatically declared Clinton the winner of the debate just moments after the debate? Further, what does it say about the authenticity of mainstream media commentators’ remarks? Are these real political analysts? Are they credible enough to present an “informed” opinion? Or, are they well-paid talking heads that spout establishment rhetoric to ensure their bosses’ chosen candidate, Hillary Clinton, will receive favorable coverage in an attempt to secure her coronation? In any event, what is certainly clear that there is a great divide between old media, or establishment mainstream media, and new media, which is largely found online.


The dismal reporting of mainstream media has pushed Millennials towards independent media and its desperate attempt at burying Bernie Sanders will fail because Millennials consume alterative news. When Millennials consume alternative news, they are not subjected to the factually incorrect views on Bernie Sanders. He has massive and underrepresented Millennial support. That is the same support that won Barack Obama the 2008 primary and general election.


The difference in 2016 is that Millennials have been driven so far under the radar that their underrepresentation in the polls creates a climate ripe for the political revolution Bernie Sanders has been asking for. Millennials will come out to vote this primary election. They will vote for Bernie Sanders. He will win in Iowa. He will win the primaries and go on to win the general election because Americans are “Feeling the Bern.”


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