Fake Polls, Real Money




Facebook ads tend to be spot-on when it comes to identifying their audience. When I silently think to myself, “Man, we’re running out of dish soap,” I magically encounter an ad for Ajax the very next time I open Facebook. However, the social media algorithm likes to throw me a curveball every once in a while. Most recently, it recommended that I take a poll sponsored by the Trump campaign.

In the past, I’ve thought that these “Official 2020 Trump vs. Democrat Poll” clickbaits are not worth my time and continue scrolling, but this time, however, curiosity got the best of me and I decided to click on the link.

Was I outraged by the questions? Yes. Was I surprised? Not particularly.

The first question asked, “Who would you rather see fix our Nation’s immigration policies?” Voters were then given a vast choice of answers: “President Trump” or “A MS-13 Loving Democrat.” The next ten questions were similar, with a personal favorite being question eight: “Who do you believe will fight for you every day?” with the choices of either “President Trump” or “A Low Energy Democrat.”

With further research, I realized that this most recent Trump poll was not even the worst one to date. In 2017, another poll sponsored by the Trump committee, “Inaugural Year Approval,” barely gave voters the chance to critique the Trump performance. When asked, “How would you rate President Trump’s first year in office (2017)?” voters had a wide range of options: “Great,” “Good,” “Okay” and “Other” (in which “Other” could not be specified). When asked, “How would you rate President Obama’s first year in office (2009)?” the option of “Poor” was added to the list of options. The ability for voters to vote negatively of Obama, but not for Trump, completely discredits the validity of any poll produced by the Trump committee.

On Feb. 6, 2017, Trump tweeted, “Any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election.” On other occasions, Trump has referred to polls regarding the 2016 election as “dirty,” specifically those conducted by ABC and the Washington Post.

It is alarming to see a president reject the validity of surveys done by reputable sources, but this is not a new tactic. Trump has been calling the polls a “Phony Witch Hunt” since before he was even elected. From the absurdity of the survey that I encountered, you would expect that these polls are some sort of advanced satire, mocking the outrageous ego of the president and his belief that the polls are always in his favor. Although it would be nice to believe that they are just satirical, this poll, along with others, is paid for by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., which runs his official campaign website.

If President Trump cannot believe that the polls that show him in a negative light are at all accurate, his solution seems to be to create his own poll, which is rigged for him to win.

The “Official 2020 Trump vs. Democrat Poll” is laughable, to say the least. The goal of surveying is to gather scientifically valid information on the opinions of the general public. With Trump’s polls, they simply exist to direct users to donate to his re-election campaign while also giving him a cheap ego boost. Even though I refused to vote in favor of Trump in the survey I took, I could not choose an answer that portrayed a Democrat in a positive light, as every answer included some sort of negative descriptor of the Democratic option.

If any other president had advertised a survey such as the “Official 2020 Trump vs. Democrat Poll,” the media would be quick to call out the poll for what it is: a scam. But with every scandal, contradicting statement or blatant lie from Trump, a cheap marketing scheme disguised as a survey does not seem to be of much importance and has seemed to go under the radar. The only real issue that would arise from these polls would be if Trump actually started citing them. And if he does, at least you can now call them out for what they are: fake news.