Via America’s Lawyer: Election Night came and went, leaving voters and pollsters stunned by just how a close a race we were witnessing. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more. Then, RT Correspondent Brigida Santos joins Mike Papantonio to talk about voter turnout hitting record-highs across the country, especially among Millennials and Gen Z.
*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.
Mike Papantonio: Tuesday’s election taught us a lot about where the country stands, some real surprises. I have Farron Cousins with me here to talk about it. Farron, I have, I just have to lead off with the death of the pollsters. I mean, my God, we saw it coming in 2016, but this is way out of whack. What’s your take?
Farron Cousins: Yeah. You know, after 2016, after they messed it up, they said, well, listen, we’ve, we’ve adjusted the way we do things. We’ve gotten bigger, more representative samples. You can totally trust 2020. And then, I mean, immediately, as soon as the first polls started closing on Tuesday evening, you look at it and you look at the polls from just two days before and you say, okay, nothing adds up, especially, you know, look at Florida. Biden was going to win Florida according to the polls by about five points, ends up losing it, one of the biggest margins of Democrats lost Florida in 30 years.
Mike Papantonio: Yeah. It’s, it’s actually, it’s, it’s it’s much worse. Okay. I got to spend a couple of minutes talking about this because the, the, these folks want you to forget. They want you to forget the, how they bungled this whole thing. New York Times, great example, gave a 70 to 75% chance of, of Biden sweeping Florida. Okay. New York Times, double, double digit wrong up until the day before the election, all right. It doesn’t stop there. ABC Washington Post gave Biden an 18 point lead in Wisconsin, the day before the election. Quinnipiac, Texas called Texas a toss up. I mean, Texas was going to be a toss up and it was going to turn blue, according to Quinnipiac.
Farron Cousins: Yeah. It, it went to Trump by six points. I mean, there was no toss up in Texas whatsoever. And see, the problem is we always have to rely on these polls. Members of the media have to rely on these polls. We don’t create them. We take them when they’re given, we look at the aggregate. So when we go out there and we report on the polls, we report on this data, we also end up looking silly because we only reported on what the data showed.
Mike Papantonio: But it’s the media. It’s the media.
Farron Cousins: I, I have to go out and do lots of segments saying, listen, I’m sorry, I’m sorry that I had said it wrong here and wrong here and wrong here. But that was based on what was available for us.
Mike Papantonio: But you did, you also covered segments where you said this doesn’t look right.
Farron Cousins: Right.
Mike Papantonio: You said this doesn’t, like Reuters, 12 points off the day before the election. CNBC, 10 to 15 points off the day before the election. The, you know, who got it right? Rasmussen and real clear politics, almost right on the head so far. I mean, just right there. You know, the truth is that the, the way I see this developing is we have an industry, a polling industry that feeds the media and of course the media they’re just as guilty, man.
Farron Cousins: Right.
Mike Papantonio: They, they want to take this and they want to say, oh my God, it’s over. You know, according to ABC poll Washington Post, it’s over. But these folks are going to go home today and they’re going to hope that the American public forgets about it. Now I’ll tell you this. There was a story in the Atlantic, it was written by a guy, some cat named Derek Thompson. I don’t know if you saw the story. He spends all this time talking about in the Atlantic, how it’s different now. We have solved the problems.
Farron Cousins: Yeah.
Mike Papantonio: Isn’t that what you’re hearing? End of this election, the pollsters are saying, oh, you know, yeah, we messed up last time. Jake Tapper calling landside, you know, landslides, landslide talk coming out of Jake Tapper. Well, Jake Tapper is relying on the type of polls we’re talking about because he wanted, Jake Tapper wanted a landslide.
Farron Cousins: Right.
Mike Papantonio: He starts off with his political ideology. He wanted a landslide. So Jake Tapper takes these polls and he puts them to work. But this guy with the Atlantic, he says, we have new methods. He said 2016, there were huge, the difference in 2016, is there were huge numbers of voters that decided late for Trump. Sound familiar, right? 2016, he says it’s different because there was no October surprise in 2020. Goes through this list trying to justify why they screwed up so bad.
Farron Cousins: Well, and what we could be seeing, you know, we can’t rule out the possibility of some people, not being honest with the pollsters. I mean, but you factor that in to margins of error. That’s what that means.
Mike Papantonio: Yeah.
Farron Cousins: You know, whether or not these people you’re talking to are being honest. Maybe they’re embarrassed about which one of these old geezers they wanted to tell you they were voting for. It changes based on how the question is framed and that could confuse people. I know that sounds silly, but it does confuse them. I took courses in how to take polls. You know, that’s part of what we do as political scientists.
Mike Papantonio: Right.
Farron Cousins: So I, I’ve studied this. I’ve written papers on it. And it blows my mind that with as advanced technology as we have now, with as much access as we have to human beings, that we’re getting it worse than ever.
Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Okay. So Atlantic says it’s cured because we have new algorithms. I mean, that’s, that’s part of their talking. I don’t want the American public to forget about ABC and Washington Post and Quinnipiac and Reuters and CNBC. I don’t want them to forget.
Farron Cousins: The Wall Street Journal had a bunch of bad ones too. That they prompted huge, huge numbers on Biden.
Mike Papantonio: Yeah, Oh my God, Wall Street Journal, it was all the same kind of story. And you just go, it is the death of the pollster, unless they fix this, it is almost irrelevant. You know, the worst thing about it is the state polling, no name polls, you know, maybe came from a University, they got it right.
Farron Cousins: Yeah.
Mike Papantonio: State by state, they got it right. But the media didn’t want to tell their story because it wasn’t a jazzy story. So they didn’t tell the stories.
Farron Cousins: Well, you know what? You know, you, you brought up a good point about the algorithms. They say, we fixed the algorithms. That means, you know, they’re putting these numbers through the computers. They’re letting those computations take place versus the universities. What are the universities do? They have actual human beings that sit there and they work out these equations. Again, I still have these written out in a notebook that’s under my bed. There’s equations you use to determine the poll numbers. You input the data, XYZ, whatever it is and that’s what these universities are doing. And that’s far more reliable than letting a computer, you know, if you input something wrong in the computer, you don’t see it in the final result.
Mike Papantonio: Or don’t you do a forced polling. If you force your, we’re seeing a lot of that.
Farron Cousins: Yeah.
Mike Papantonio: We looked at a lot of these. They were just push polls. They were saying, this is a way to say that you’re not going to vote for Trump. And they would push poll. And then the media NBC, ABC would take all this and they would have a, just, just a heyday with it. Polling is dead.
Farron Cousins: It is.
Mike Papantonio: I, I swear to God, I proclaim it dead. This blue wave that we’re going to see, it’s a mud puddle.
Mike Papantonio: A record number of young voters participated in this year’s election, despite unprecedented challenges. Brigida Santos joins me now to talk about that. Brigida, you know, we saw a lot of surprises, didn’t we? This, this wasn’t a surprise. We, we, you know, there’s always been the discussion, well, young voters just don’t show up. The Democrats finally tried to focus on the idea that maybe we ought to spend more money and effort trying to do that. But there were surprises with, you know, we thought that the demographics on, on women were going to, to, to harm Trump. In fact, he increased by 5% or minorities he increased that substantially. Latinos, it was, there was so many surprises. This was no surprise. But how many young voters cast ballots in the presidential election? And what are the top issues that they seem to be concerned about?
Brigida Santos: Well, ballots are obviously still being counted, but the center for information and research on civic learning and engagement at Tufts university has found that voters between the ages of 18 and 29 voted in record numbers. Now over 7 million young voters had already cast ballots prior to November 3rd, and we’re on track to surpass 2008’s record youth voting numbers. Now the most important issues to young voters are climate change and the environment, racism and healthcare. Millennial and generation Z voters make up 37% of the electorate and this year they were inspired to get active and lead protestors to the polls. Political activism among youth has been increasing since the occupy wall street movement. And in recent years, young organizers have demonstrated for black lives, rallied for their lives against gun violence, raised hell over the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and even led a global climate strike. Their futures are uncertain and they’re tired of sitting on the sidelines.
Mike Papantonio: Yeah, there’s going to be a tremendous backlash if all, if they don’t see a response for their, their turnout, I can tell you that that’s, that is where the rubber is gonna meet the road. They turned out in these big numbers, they expected something to happen. Something had better happen. What kind of obstacles do young people face in, in this voting process? It’s a little, is it more difficult for them? Why haven’t they turned out in the past? What’s been the obstacles?
Brigida Santos: Sure. Look, there’s a common misconception that young people today are lazy, selfish and not civically minded. But what many people don’t realize is that young voters absolutely face unique obstacles to participating in elections. Some polling places have complex identification requirements for young voters like in Wisconsin, where out of state college students need to show their proof of residency and enrollment and show their college ID cards, which are only considered valid by the state if they display the date that they were issued and other information that’s not always printed on student ID cards. They also have to show proof of college enrollment and without a voter compliant photo ID card out of state students can’t vote. Wisconsin’s college students make up 6.9 percent of the eligible voting population there and Donald Trump won there in 2016 by one percentage point. So this is a significant voting block that’s potentially being left out.
Now, other States have also implemented laws and rules that undermine young voters like removing mobile or early voting sites on campuses. Students can’t always take the day off to go vote. So this absolutely discourages them. And then of course this year, health concerns over the coronavirus pandemic also created additional obstacles for voters regardless of age. And despite these youth voter suppression efforts, young people, aren’t letting it stop them and in some States like California voters just weighed in on whether or not to expand voting rights to 17 year olds. So far, it does not look like proposition 18 is going to pass to allow 17 year olds to vote. But the fact that we’re even talking about it and that it’s even an issue on the ballot, says a lot.
Mike Papantonio: What kind of candidates might we expect young voters to support down the line? What, what are we looking for in a candidate?
Brigida Santos: Definitely candidates that prioritize environmental issues. This is not just a democratic issue. Many young conservatives also care about the environment and conservation efforts. Young people are the ones left dealing with the country’s problems. It’s exciting to see them care about their futures and participate in shaping it. And this shows that they know their voices and votes matter, no matter how much the establishment counts on them not showing up and in the future, those establishment candidates may not be able to hold their votes if they don’t follow through with the things that they want.
Mike Papantonio: Yeah. There better be a serious follow through on climate change this go round or the, you know, burn them one time, you know, and there’s not going to be another turnout like what we saw here for these voters. Anyway, Brigida, thank you for joining me. Okay.
Brigida Santos: Thanks Mike.