The following is an excerpt from an article in The Hill
As the presidential battle among Democrats heats up, there are new polls and predictions every day as to how it will turn out. A recent Marquette University Law poll finds both former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) would beat President Trump in Wisconsin.
Some news reporters and pundits seem to use polls to try to shape public opinion, rather than report on a snapshot in time.
“Biden is the only Democrat who can beat Trump,” say some. “All the polls show him in first place.” Everyone else might as well hang it up.
“Biden is doomed as a candidate,” insist others. He should bow out.
Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)? Too far left. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii)? Not left enough. Former congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas)? Dead in the water.
Or, how about this recent finding from Quinnipiac University: Every top major Democrat beats Trump by at least nine points.
It’s time for a friendly intervention — in the form of a look back at some predictions and punditry about this time in Campaign 2016. We’ll call it a trip down short-term memory lane. Many polls ultimately turned out to be poor predictors — early and often.
Going back to May of 2015, a Quinnipiac poll found Donald Trump topped the “no way” list among Republicans, with 21 percent of GOP voters saying they would definitely not support him.
And on June 22, 2015, an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll put Trump at 1 percent, behind 10 Republican candidates: former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, retired surgeon Ben Carson, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and businesswoman Carly Fiorina. The same poll put Trump at rock bottom among 16 candidates when Republican voters were asked: “Could you see yourselves supporting this candidate?”
On June 24, 2015, Politico’s Daniel Strauss tried to tamp down fears that Trump actually could be a winner. “Whispers of a Trump surge are making the rounds,” wrote Strauss. “It might be wise to take a deep breath. … Nationally, Trump’s polling has been on the decline.” Strauss quoted a Suffolk University pollster as saying Trump’s favorable polling means people have seen him on TV but, “That doesn’t mean they’re going to vote for him. … Everybody should calm down.”
Former New Hampshire Republican Party chairman Fergus Cullen declared there was “no visible grassroots movement for Trump” in New Hampshire. And Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said, “At the end of the day, it’s quite possible that Donald Trump will get 11 percent in New Hampshire, but that might be his cap.” (Trump won the Republican primary in New Hampshire with just over 35 percent of the vote.)
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