By Rod Thomson
The polls are the polls and no one other than the paid pollsters with obvious vested interests can tell you if they are accurate. They suggest Trump is down a couple of percentage points in Florida. That is highly doubtful for several concrete, number-driven reasons.
First, let’s understand the difference between polls and other data. The best polls ask registered voters who voted in the last two elections — labeling them likely voters — who they will vote for this year. In 2016, pollsters missed a few percentage points of Trump voters because those voters lied to them, unwilling to tell a stranger they were voting for Trump. That phenomenon is assuredly more in play this year considering the societal travails of being a Trump supporter in many parts of the country.
And Republicans in Florida and elsewhere have seen dramatically higher voter registration totals than Democrats since 2016, which means they are not showing up in those polls. Neither of these polling shortcomings are the fault of nefarious pollsters. Oversampling Democrats, however, is on pollsters and still seems to happen too often.
So polling numbers are squishy, malleable and missing important data. On the other hand, here are some concrete data points to consider that color a different picture.
Each week for the past several weeks, Republican volunteers knocked on three million doors and made one million phone calls to Floridians. (Side note: Democrats pay a lot of volunteers on a weekly basis, calling them the oxymoron “paid volunteers.” Republicans do not.) This election cycle alone, Florida Republican and Trump Victory volunteers have made more than 22 million voter contacts in Florida alone. They also held more than 55,000 events and mobilized tens of thousands of volunteers. This counters the Democrats’ monetary advantage for smothering ad buys — which is what the media is focusing on. Naturally. But human contact is proven to be the most effective.
Republicans have signed up something like half a million new voters since 2016 in Florida, lowering the Democrats once large voter advantage to less than one percent, and dwindling. Democrats held a voter registration advantage nearing 500,000 voters in 2016. That is now below 130,000 and continuing to drop.
In the past five years, Florida Republicans have flipped 21 counties from blue to red via voter registration rolls. These were mostly rural counties, but not all. Pinellas County, which is home to St. Pete and the Tampa Bay Rays has one million residents as part of Tampa Bay, also saw Republicans pass Democrats in voter registration.
These voter registration efforts since 2016 have been a roaring success across the state, with Republicans beating Democrats in new registrations in even the large metro counties of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties (Tampa Bay) and Orange and Seminole counties (Orlando.) And amazingly, Republicans almost tripled the number of newly registered voters in Miami-Dade over newly registered Democrats.
This is not strictly a data point, but the largest Florida county has an incredible diversity of voters in its Hispanic community. It’s not just the conservative Cuban community, but Venezuelans, Guatamalens and Hondurans also trend more Republican because they come from failed socialist countries. The black community is also more diverse with the Caribbean influence, particularly Haitians who are much more conservative than traditional American blacks.
When you take this hard data just on face value, it suggests a different picture than the polls. But even with those, remember that all of the recent ones have the race even when considering the margin of error.
Rod Thomson is an author, former journalist, past Salem radio host in Tampa, Fla,, ABC TV commentator and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Like Rod on Facebook.
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