Letter: Why Media Got It Wrong, and Why I Was Right Predicting the Election

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To the Editor:

There is an old saying: you have to toot your own horn, because nobody is going to do it for you. Despite countless polls showing Biden way ahead, despite the mainstream media predicting an easy Biden win, I was right, the mainstream media was wrong, and very wrong. I stated in a Facebook video that Biden had a 51 percent chance of winning, and that the polls were wrong with Biden being way ahead. In retrospect, anything sounds easy to predict after the fact. But making an accurate prediction, putting it on Facebook and getting it right — that's something to brag about.

The arguments made over and over and over again by CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, and well, anybody not FOX was that while the polls were wildly off in 2016, but this time, they worked out all the kinks. This time they would get it right. But they were wrong again, and in a big way, and I predicted it.

I believe that there are three major reasons why the polls were inaccurate. One reason you only would appreciate if you actually worked for a campaign and tried to engage in grassroots democracy. I have won them with District Attorney Andrea Harrington, and I have lost them with gubernatorial candidate Shannon O'Brien — elections where I made substantial investments of my time and resources. I have been on the phone for hours or knocked on door, after door, to only reach one voter. Because of the incessant calls of telemarketers, and because people work far more hours and both family members are working, people today are highly unlikely to answer their phone or answer their doorbells (which as a side note, makes money in politics even more important). I know how hard it is to reach people, because I have tried. Failure to reach voters translates into smaller sampling sizes and sampling bodies that do not accurately reflect the demographics of the voting public. The second basic problem with polls is that many if not most of them are not done neutrally, but to encourage candidates from one party and discourage candidates from other parties.

But the third and most important problem with polling on Trump was a phenomenon known as "social desirability bias," the "Bradley-effect," or "the secret Trump voter": these are all pretty much the same thing. People have vilified Donald Trump so much, voters are afraid to admit they voted or will vote for him to a pollster. (A similar bias happened when an African-American candidate named Bradley ran for office, people were afraid to admit they were not going to vote for him, and he did not win an election Bradley was predicted to win.)



Perhaps some of the most honest commentary was on The Hill, a YouTube news show which admitted widespread failure of the polls they were touting, but it was not otherwise insightful. I actually suggested Biden stay in his basement, that the election was a referendum on Trump, and that widespread Biden exposure was not going to help him. Biden was a troubled candidate with a long history of lying and plagiarism, problems with his son Hunter and allegations of corruption, a serious sexual assault allegation after a history of saying "believe women," and a supporter of the 1994 crime bill while Trump was the champion of opportunity zones, the First-Step Act, and major investments in historically black universities. Worst, Biden has stammered so much and said so many discombobulated things, many believe that it was not merely the stuttering of his youth but early onset dementia. His platform seemed to only consist of encouragement that we all wear mask, and that Trump was a social media pariah. To top it all off, Biden then picked a running mate based on nothing more than her gender and color, who did incredibly poorly in the primaries herself —picking someone that did terribly in the primaries is a big no-no.

I ran for state senate myself on what I though was pretty progressive agenda. But the party has been taken over by crazies. Black Lives Matter protest erupted in countless riots, violence, looted stores, and widespread vandalism and almost nothing was said about it by Democrats.

The Democrats became the party that supported kneeling during the national anthem, which was widely regarded as a sign of disrespect. It became the party of shutting the economy down indefinitely. It became the impeachment and get nothing else done party. It became the party that openly didn't take COVID-19 seriously, that encouraged people to come to parades and restaurants in Chinatown, to keep the borders open with China, and asked you to forget about all that and instead accept their alternative history. It became mired in identity politics, and turned away from the economic progressivism that made me fall in love with the party.

I saw it.

Rinaldo Del Gallo
Lenox, Mass. 


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