Democrats, just forget this poll

Published June 13, 2019

By Gary Pearce

Democrats have been circulating and celebrating an Emerson College poll that shows Trump losing North Carolina to Joe Biden by 12 points, to Bernie Sanders by eight points, to Pete Buttigieg by four and tied with Elizabeth Warren. The poll shows State Senator Erica Smith leading Senator Thom Tillis 46-39, and Governor Roy Cooper leading Lt. Governor Dan Forest by 14 points, 52-38.

Ignore it. Forget about it. Pay no attention to it. The more Democrats swallow swill like this, the more trouble we’ll have in 2020.

The methodology is questionable, to start with. Emerson does robopolls; no live callers. They call landlines only; no cell phones. They use an “online panel,” but that doesn’t tell us much. And their voter sample appears to be 5-6 points too Democratic.

In case you’re wondering, Emerson College is in Boston. No matter; you can do a good poll from Boston, and you can do a bad poll from Boston. What you can’t do from Boston is apply the Weatherman Test: A good weatherman looks at the radar, the computer models, the consensus forecasts and all the other scientific stuff. Then he goes outside and looks at the sky.

If the Emerson College pollsters had walked around North Carolina and looked at the sky, they’d know their reading is wrong.

Trump is a lot stronger here than the poll suggests.

While he always seems to be one Twitter thumb away from blowing himself up, he still has the most powerful and most dominant voice we’ve ever seen in politics. He keeps everybody off balance, including the media and his opponents. He can destroy a rival with an insult or a nasty nickname, like he’s trying to do with “Sleepy Joe” Biden.

A lot of people think he’s tough and strong. They like that he’s disrupting a political system they hate. They think he’s on their side. And if you think his tariffs will lose him voters who fear immigrant invasions, you need to walk around outside more.

Yes, there are growing numbers of young, nonwhite and metropolitan voters. But not enough of them vote.

As always, there is a deep river of conservatism flowing in this state. That river is fed by many streams of conservatism – financial, social, cultural, religious and moral. And, to be sure, there is that strong stream of racism and bigotry.

Democrats missed all that in 2016. They thought Clinton and Trump were tied here. Clinton’s campaign thought so. That’s why she had her last rally here. But she lost by four points. Roy Cooper, the strongest Democratic candidate imaginable, narrowly beat a failed, hapless Republican Governor whom even Republicans admit was a disaster.

The only Democratic Presidential candidate who has won here in 40 years was Barack Obama in 2008. He pulled off the amazing feat of both energizing young and nonwhite voters and attracting moderates who were panicked by an economic collapse. Even then he won by just a hair.

And the Senate race? Well, in Senate races here since 1978, Democrats have a 3-10 record. While North Carolinians sometimes like N.C. Democrats, they hate D.C. Democrats.

Forget this poll, Democrats. Walk around outside. You can still see the clouds.