From Washington Examiner
The public opinion polls aren’t lying: Donald Trump is losing to Hillary Clinton.
Poll after poll since the conclusion of the Democratic and Republican conventions has found Clinton with a healthy, though not insurmountable, national lead over Trump. She’s also inching further ahead in battleground states.
The Democrat led the Republican by anywhere from 7 to 8 points in polling averages of national surveys. Also: Clinton led by 7 points in Virginia, 9.5 points in Colorado and 9.2 points in Pennsylvania.
The former secretary of state built her lead on advantages with key demographics like non-white voters, college-educated white voters and women. Clinton’s lead also was fueled by Trump’s loss of support among members of his own party.
The current numbers are born out in public polling, private polling and the advertising patters of the Clinton campaign and allied Democratic groups (Trump and his loyalists have advertised little by comparison.)
Yet there remains a healthy skepticism, to downright incredulity, of the polls among avid Trump supporters, who claim surveys are being manipulated to boost Clinton.
They blame media bias, consultant-class bias, over-sampling of Democratic-friendly voters, under-appreciation of social media metrics — Americans too embarrassed to tell pollsters that they support Trump — for creating the false impression that Trump is losing, or at least that he is losing by more than he actually is.
These charges have been leveled before. For years, supporters of Republican nominee Mitt Romney charged that polls were being skewed in favor of President Obama. That didn’t turn out to be the case.
Indeed, the outcome of prior elections has proven to be consistent with the polling released just before Election Day.
“The polls are not ‘skewed.’ They weren’t in 2012, and they aren’t now,” writes Harry Enten, a political analyst with FiveThirtyEight.com, a media outfit that analyzes polling and other data to produce election forecasts.
Enten is exactly the sort of political analyst that the skeptics are hesitant to trust. But he’s exactly right about the 2012 presidential race.
Additionally, the polling, if viewed in the context of the survey averages regularly cited by political reporters, have been remarkably reliable in forecasting the direction of a presidential campaign since their rise in popularity in 2004.
In 2012, the final RealClearPolitics average before Election Day showed Obama leading Romney by 0.7 percentage points. Obama won by 3.9 points. In 2008, the final RCP average showed Obama beating Republican John McCain by 7.6 points. Obama won by 7.3 points.
In 2004, President Bush was 1.5 points ahead of Democrat John Kerry in the final RCP average before Election Day. Bush won by 2.4 points. More recent elections also show the durability of polling averages to gauge the state of a race.
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