Here’s the Thing the Media Isn’t Telling You About the Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump Polls

As a writer/blogger, I understand part of the media is marketing and sales. You have to have content, headlines, stories and information that lures in viewers, readers or listeners. Some people can whine and cry about “clickbait” all they want, but part of the media (independent and mainstream alike) is trying to bring people to your content. I’m usually fine with it as long as the content is important, the “clickbait” isn’t ridiculously over-the-top and the information being presented is factual and contextually accurate, even if there’s plenty of opinion mixed in.



That’s why I’ve had a problem lately with the hype the media has given to these Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump polls showing the two candidates are essentially neck and neck.

First, head-to-head polls in May are completely and totally worthless – and don’t even get me started on the people who’ve been referencing them for weeks or months.

If you don’t believe me, just ask highly respected polling expert Nate Silver who went off on a rant recently concerning those trying to make a big deal out of these polls this far away from the general election.

Before going forward, let me show you a couple of tweets Daily Beast reporter Gideon Resnick sent out the other day:

And that’s not even the whole story.

If you look at 2008, Obama did worse in May while Clinton was still in the race. While he had basically locked up the nomination at that point, like Bernie Sanders is doing now, Clinton stayed in until the end. This did seem to have a negative impact on Obama’s numbers during the last month of the primary as her supporters clung to their last bit of hope that she might emerge victorious.



Even looking at 2012’s numbers, when President Obama didn’t have a challenger, there were several polls that showed Mitt Romney beating him. This was also around the same time when the party began recognizing that Romney was going to ultimately be the party’s nominee and they began rallying around him, which almost always leads to a “bump” in the polls. That’s essentially what’s happening right now with Trump.

Furthermore, while Clinton has essentially clinched the Democratic nomination already, there’s still a sizable chunk of Sanders supporters who truly and honestly believe he can still win. So the fact that the Democratic primary isn’t officially over is negatively impacting her numbers. I know there are many pro-Sanders people who’ve professed that they’ll never support her, but once the primary officially ends, expect her to also see a “bump” in the polls as the party begins coalescing around her.

I know, I know, “It’ll never happen – she’s the devil! $hillary will never be president!” Those of you who are thinking that are absolutely right – silly me.

But you’ll rarely see any of this mentioned in the mainstream media because it’s their job to create “drama,” even when there’s not any. By pushing these polls, it gives these networks hours upon hours of political fodder to fill the airwaves with concerning polls that don’t matter one bit. Though that can’t just say that because that’s “bad for business.” It’s much better for them to hype these head-to-head polls they know don’t mean anything as a “legitimate story” because “it’s better for business” if the Clinton vs. Trump race is as dramatic as possible.

The truth is (and they know it, too), in May, just as we see in the numbers from 2008 and 2012, these head-to-head polls are meaningless.

Or as Nate Silver said about those trying to turn these head-to-head polls into a credible “news” story: “For f*ck’s sake, America. You’re going to make me go on a rant about general election polls — in May?”

I think that perfectly sums up this whole situation.

As for me, I’ll start caring about head-to-head polling around mid to late July when they actually begin to matter.




Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • Libertarianski

    Poor Hi-C has to change slogans as often as her polyester pantsuit

  • The only reason Hillary is slumping in the polls is because that idiot Sanders is fighting her so much! And you stupid BernieBots refuse to support her because you hate women!

    • peter

      You actually believe that Bernie fans are NOT feminists? Be real.

      Bernie has always polled much better against Trump than Hillary. If Trump takes it, it will be because Hillary supporters didn’t go with the best bet. Now, that’s some truth for you.

      • Spare me! You BernieBots are complete dolts!

      • noah vail

        and you tRump supporters and fellow trolls think we can’t see through your bullshit..

      • You’re a cyber-bully!

      • Bill

        No, you are a cyber-fraud. You create fake accounts to upvote yourself to make yourself feel better about your inadequacies. Total loser by the way. You support a candidate who brags about getting child molesters off of the hook when they deserve to be in prison. You are the pinnacle of trash and you know it. Why don’t you tell everyone here how you are a “professional podcaster” like you told me earlier…. lmao.

      • noah vail

        i just love the way you right wing nut jobs consider anyone who can think for themselves either a cyber-bully or part of a left wing conspiracy….telling the truth isn’t bullying, it’s letting you know that i don’t buy the lies and if you really care enough to do some research you too will join the DUMP TRUMP movement…

      • I’m the most anti-Trump person you’ll ever find, you dolt! I have numerous podcasts devoted to exposing that Trump is Hitler and all of his supporters are KKK/neo-Nazis!

      • SMB1128

        Bernie hasn’t been vetted or attacked by the Republican’s at all. So it makes sense his numbers would be higher. Now if they actually turned their attention on him, watch out. They know they will be up against Hillary though, so why waste the money attacking him.

    • noah vail

      to which my only reply is “‘take a fu**ing hike, moron” ..

    • Bill

      Want to know the reason you are such a loser? Could it be that you create disqus accounts to upvote your comments? Could it be that you are nothing but a troll who isn’t even good at said trolling? Should I copy and paste the list of fake accounts you use daily to make your asinine statements appear to be popular? So pathetic.

      • Go right ahead! I have done nothing of the sort! How dare you impugn me!? You’re a cyber-impugner!

      • Bill

        No, you are a cyber fraud, and you can’t stand the fact your cover has been blown. From reasonabletraveler to this new one, all with the same modus operanda – creating fake disqus accounts to put your drivel on the top of comment sections. Then constantly accusing everyone of being sexist, racist, xenophobic etc, because you cannot debate your points of view because they are nothing but talking points someone smarter than you fed you. Get it?

      • I’d expect a comment like that from a fascist!!

      • Bill

        Wow, you provide so many facts and information, you have clearly done your homework. Using “isms” and “phobias” to push your drivel when you haven’t any logical ground to stand on to possibly have a debate.

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  • amersham46

    These polls are taken in Wal Mart parking lots