MRC's Rich Noyes: Networks Should Be Humble About Their Polls After Being 'So Wrong' in 2016

Media Research Center research director Rich Noyes appeared on Risk & Reward on the Fox Business Channel on Wednesday night to address the latest polls insisting that the American people are not approving of Donald Trump's transition into the presidency -- despite the emerging sense that Trump's cabinet nominees are going to be confirmed easily, as Defense Secretary James Mattis was on Wednesday.

Fox Business played clips of CNN and ABC polls each claiming only 40 percent of the public has a favorable opinion of the Trump transition. Pollsters never ask "so name one Trump cabinet nominee" to see if the person being polled is qualified to have an opinion of the transition. Then Fox Business host Elizabeth McDonald asked Noyes about the complaint that the network pollsters habitually over-interview Democrats in their sample.

ELIZABETH MCDONALD: Donald Trump questioning those polls and it's reigniting that controversy that came up in the election. The three — these polls are saying that President-elect Trump is entering office with the worst approval rating in 30 years, worse than Jimmy Carter. Now, CNN and ABC pollsters are once again being accused of oversampling Democrats surveyed. The ABC News/Washington Post poll showing Democrats comprise 31 percent of the sample, with less, 23 percent identifying as Republicans. Same for the CNN poll. 32 percent identified as Democrats versus 24 percent telling pollsters they saying they are Republicans. The fight over polling bias came up in the months leading up the election when some media outlets had Hillary Clinton leading in the polls and now, some argue well since Trump won perhaps those polls were actually wrong. 

ABC’s DAVID MUIR [on 10/24/16]: The ABC News tracking poll has Hillary Clinton up by 12. 

NBC’s LESTER HOLT [on 10/24/16]: Over the weekend, an ABC tracking poll of likely voters put Hillary Clinton 12 points in front of Donald Trump

CBS’s SCOTT PELLEY [on 10/24/16]: No candidate down this far this late has ever recovered. 

MCDONALD: The President-elect firing back at these polls, tweeting: “The same people who did the phony election polls, and were so wrong, are now doing approval rating polls. They are rigged just like before.” With me now, Media Research Center research director — he’s Rich Noyes. What you think. There’s been a lot of question s about whether or not you can say that these polls show bias due to their sampling. What are your thoughts? 

RICH NOYES: Well, I mean, clearly, there are more Democrats in these polls than Republicans. Whether that reflects reality or not, you know, you know, usually you have an election to judge the accuracy of polls. We had an election and it showed the polls were too tilted in favor of measuring Clinton voters than Trump voters. The election polls, I should point out, were of likely voters, which is a good sample. This is all adults. This is a much more liberal group of people, including people who never vote in elections, aren’t registered to vote, so their opinions, you know, are now being put alongside likely voters. It, you know, I think what the media should do is be a lot more humble about projecting these poll results to sort of act like there is a flaw or handicap in a new president coming in because they were so wrong coming into the election, but that’s not the way they’re playing it. They’re playing it as Donald Trump starting behind the eight-ball as he becomes president and you know, that's the media's story on this. 

Noyes also discussed the media's habit to deny the Trump campaign's emphasis on economic nationalism as  having any effect on long-term corporate decision-making. Trump began campaigning in the middle of 2015, but reporters think his jawboning can't have any effect until he's actually inaugurated.

MCDONALD: Rich, I’d like to switch gears. Donald Trump also calling out NBC for reporting that recent job announcement from companies including GM's $1 billion investment — they were already in the works way before Trump. That’s what some of the companies are saying that too. Donald Trump not liking that reporting. What is your reaction to that?

NOYES: Well, I mean, you know, there may be some truth to that. But the fact is he’s put pressure on these companies to try to locate jobs in the United States and they’ve responded by announcing plans to have more jobs in the United States. You know, if this were the Obama administration, the media would be crowning him as being the champion of U.S. jobs, but it’s the Trump administration that hasn’t even taken office yet and they’re trying to — or they’re trying to figure out a way to not give him credit for it. You know, clearly a lot of these corporate plans take place over a long period of time, but this is his agenda and it's already coming to fruition.


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