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In an era of fake news, can we trust the MSM polls that show Trump badly trailing Biden in the race for the US presidency?

Robert Bridge
Robert Bridge

Robert Bridge is an American writer and journalist. He is the author of the book, 'Midnight in the American Empire,' How Corporations and Their Political Servants are Destroying the American Dream. @Robert_Bridge

Robert Bridge is an American writer and journalist. He is the author of the book, 'Midnight in the American Empire,' How Corporations and Their Political Servants are Destroying the American Dream. @Robert_Bridge

In an era of fake news, can we trust the MSM polls that show Trump badly trailing Biden in the race for the US presidency?
Consult just about any US media resource and a trend is quickly discernible: Donald Trump is sagging in popularity while his likely Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, soars like an eagle. Are these polls really to be believed?

Is there a conflict of interest greater than that of the US media conducting a public opinion poll on Donald J. Trump?

It appears to be a self-indulgent activity, a bit like climate change activists gathering opinions on the merits of air travel, for example, or a New York Yankees fan organizing a poll to determine who the best baseball player was, Babe Ruth or David Wright.

In other words, those asking the questions may be very tempted, in deference to their own prejudices, to get the answers they seek.

Perform a quick Google search on ‘Trump poll numbers’ and you will likely experience some deja vu. As in 2016, when the media showed Trump trailing far behind Hillary Clinton, the same media want us to believe that the presidential incumbent is now eating Joe Biden’s dust on the road to the White House.

The New York Times, for example, in an opinion poll it conducted in cahoots with ultra-liberal Siena College, showed Biden ahead of Trump by 14 percentage points, pulling 50 percent of the vote compared with just 36 percent for the president.

In another survey, this one carried out by USA Today and Suffolk University, Trump garnered 41 percent to Biden’s 53 percent. What the poll failed to say, however, is that in 2016, the editorial board at USA Today took the unprecedented step of taking sides in that year’s presidential race, declaring Trump “unfit for the presidency.”

Suffolk University, meanwhile, is situated in snobby Boston, Massachusetts, a formidable Democratic stronghold where Hillary Clinton secured 60 percent of the 2016 vote compared to Trump’s 32.8 percent. No chance of bias there.

Then there was the poll by CNN, which Trump regularly slams as ‘fake news,’ where it was said that the incumbent leader was trailing Biden by a whopping 14 points. The Trump campaign, arguing that just 25 percent of the contacted respondents were Republican, condemned the survey as “defamatory, and misleading” with the goal of creating “an anti-Trump narrative.”

McLaughlin and Associates, a national survey research group requested by Trump to examine the findings, said the results were an effort on the part of “Democratic operatives” to “counter the enthusiasm of Trump voters.” Meanwhile, the right-leaning polling agency, Rasmussen, reported that Trump enjoys a 44 percent approval rating, which reflects the usual margin of difference.

It’s important to note that the media, which has a snarling political dog in the Trump-Biden fight, follows up on its dubious polls with stories based on those very same polls. CNN, for example, aired a segment that asked, ‘What would happen if Trump lost in November but refused to leave office?’ Even Fox News, considered to be ‘Trump friendly,’ wondered if Trump would drop out of the race due to low poll numbers.   

At the same time, many people must be wondering how Joe Biden, 77, has been able to garner such glowing poll numbers. After all, when the former vice president finally ventured to speak in public after an 88-day disappearing act, it only served to make people question the possibility of his “cognitive decline,” a subject the mainstream media seems unwilling to consider in any great depth.

Although the United States has certainly suffered from a double whammy of Covid-19 and race riots, the situation does not appear to be as bleak as the media would have everyone believe. In May, for example, analysts expressed disbelief as the economy added 2.5 million jobs, with the unemployment rate declining to 13.3 percent from 14.7 percent. Market watchers had been anticipating a loss of 7.25 million jobs and an unemployment rate of 19.0 percent. Meanwhile, Wall Street continues to weather the storm.

In short, the country remains resilient in the face of unprecedented challenges, yet Trump’s popularity continues to dwindle. Does the US leader have good reason to question the media-sponsored polls that show him in the basement, exactly where Joe Biden has been organizing his campaign from for months, or should the American people trust the findings?

Given the way the mainstream media has treated Trump over the course of his first term in office, it seems that whatever the media reports on the most divisive American president in living memory must be taken with a very generous handful of salt.  

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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