Political prediction expert Larry Sabato called out the Washington Post on Sunday over a new poll showing Donald Trump leading President Joe Biden by double digits.
What did the poll show?
The shocking Washington Post/ABC News poll found that if the election were held today, Trump would crush Biden among registered voters, 52% to 42%.
Moreover, the survey found that Biden's job approval stands at a dismal 37% — a metric that in and of itself signals Biden will lose re-election — because the majority of Americans disapprove of Biden's handling of the economy and the border crisis.
To make matters worse for Biden, approximately two-thirds of Democratic voters and Democratic-leaning voters want the Democratic Party to nominate someone other than Biden in 2024. Most of those respondents aren't picky about who his successor is — they just want someone other than Biden.
The poll also found that most Americans do not believe Biden is being unfairly targeted by House Republicans, who have opened an impeachment inquiry over allegations of corruption against Biden. Instead, 58% of respondents said Biden is being "held accountable" while just 32% said he is being "unfairly victimized by his political opponents."
What was the reaction?
Sabato, a professor of politics at the University of Virginia, condemned the Washington Post for publishing the poll because, in his view, the results are "laughable."
"Ignore the Washington Post – ABC poll. It’s a ridiculous outlier (Trump up 10 over Biden—laughable)," Sabato reacted. "My question: How could you even publish a poll so absurd on its face? Will be a lingering embarrassment for you."
In another reaction post, Sabato said he is "torn between scoffing and laughing" at the poll's results.
Another data expert, Nate Cohn of the New York Times, also called out the Washington Post for describing the poll as "probably an outlier."
"It's really really hard to release outlying poll results, so you've got to give credit to ABC/Post here, but I do have a fairly major quibble with ABC/Post here: if you release consecutive 'outlying' poll results — R+7 in May, R+10 today — you don't get to dismiss your results," Cohn reacted.
"If it happens twice in a row in the same race, it's clear that this is the result of some element of your approach, and either you either need to decide you're good with it and defend it or you need to go home," he said.
While the poll seems like an outlier because no other survey has shown Trump with such a significant lead — almost every other poll shows Trump and Biden locked in a dead heat within the statistical margin of error — it's not clear what in the poll's methodology may have produced the result.
Some critics have suggested Republicans were oversampled, but the poll asked respondents about their party affiliation. Only 25% identified as Republican, while 25% identified as Democrats and 42% identified as independents.
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