As is always the case with polls aside from a day or two before the actual election, look not at the "snapshot" numbers, but at the size of the margins and the trends. The American public has been more or less evenly split on a border wall for years, right on through to last fall. Now, six months later, the bottom has fallen out and the wall that is the crown jewel of Donald Trump's presidential platform is now twenty points underwater with the general electorate. What, in light of recent events like ISIS's attacks on Paris and San Bernardino and Brussels, could possibly explain a collapse in public support for border hawkery?
Trumplicans and their benefit-of-the-doubt-granting enablers are not gonna like the answer:
Remember that we're talking about the general electorate here; I'm adamantly against Trump but I support a wall, even though I know it will never be constructed and that Trump has no intention of ever building one if he ever did miraculously make it to the White House. So what does this mean for all of you Trumplicans who've been on-board the "Trump train" since last summer because you bought his border hawkery con? Again, you're not gonna like the answer, but you need to come to terms with it: Donald Trump has calculatedly discredited border control, reassertion of U.S. immigration law, restoring the value of citizenship, and resurrecting the validity of national and cultural sovereignty, just like he did the pro-life movement yesterday and every other issue and aspect of the conservative/Republican "brand". He is, as I said yesterday, a wrecking ball that is destroying everything that Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, and Newt Gingrich painstakingly constructed over the past half century, which has been his actual mission from day one.
One thing for the Director to note in his insistence that "polls are all wrong because they poll cities": (1) That's where most people live, and (2) they don't just poll cities proper, but also suburbs and exurbs, the latter of which are little distinguishable from rural areas (and in which my domicile would be so categorized, which helps explain why the surrounding enclave is a "red" one) and each of which has different demographics. Statistics was part of my business administration curriculum and I did pick up a basic knowledge of how statistical sampling is done in order to make it representative.
In short, Director, while pollsters certainly put their thumbs on the scale as much as they can and use poll numbers to mold and shape public opinion, the don't just "MSU," and a Trump-related collapse in public support for a border wall, and his landslide-defeat-foreshadowing unfavorables across the demographic board, are too YUUUUGELY statistically significant to just dismiss out of hand.
Donald Trump is a disaster for the GOP, the conservative movement, and the U.S. Constitution. Period.
Incidentally, the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll has Trump drowning in every demographic - even white men, where his unfavorables stand at 51% - and highlighted by being thirty points underwater with independents (33%-64%). But this is the most telling factoid of the day:
The authors found that around three hundred days before the election (mid-January), general election polls are essentially meaningless — their predictive value is close to zero. But by the time we get to mid-April of the election year, polls explain about half the variance in the eventual vote split. And mid-April polls have correctly “called” the winner in about two-thirds of the cases since 1952.
Things still change quite a bit afterward, of course, but in that three-month period (which encompasses most or sometimes all of the contested primary voting), we’ve gone from polls telling us basically nothing about what will happen to polls telling us “about half the story” of the election, says Wlezien. [emphasis added]
And given that Trump is trailing Mrs. Clinton in general election matchups by double digits, and that his universal name recognition leaves him no upside or ability to change public perceptions that have been cast in concrete for forty years, that predictivity is enhanced this time.
Exit tweet from Sean Trende:
That's the funniest thing about the Trump phenomenon. He's increasing the chances of something like Gang of 8 = law. [emphasis added]
UPDATE: More from the ABC News/WaPo poll:
Three-quarters of women view [Trump] unfavorably. So do nearly two-thirds of independents, eighty percent of young adults, eighty-five percent of Hispanics, and nearly half of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.
No, Director, the polls are not "wrong". Not THIS wrong, anyway. It isn't possible. To stubbornly believe otherwise is sheer delusional wishcasting.