For Whom the Polls Tell

Watching the news

I flipped back and forth between DR and TV2 News Tuesday evening for their American election coverage until about 21:00, then got a little sleep and was watching American coverage on Fox (via internet) from about 01:30.

My main takeaway from the Danish coverage was that I’ve been much too charitable on this blog. Danish coverage of American politics is horrible. Empirically and demonstrably horrible. I didn’t hear a single observation that didn’t sound like it had been taken straight from the Democratic National Committee, the Biden campaign, the New York Times, the Washington Post, or CNN.

I’ll give a little credit to Anders Samuelsen, who as part of the panel on TV2 News (I think) at least observed aloud that maybe Danish coverage was excessively one-sided. The rest of the panel had been chortling over a finding from a while back, which I commented on at the time, that Danes look less favorably on Donald Trump than do any other people in Europe.

I’m going from memory, so this should not be considered a direct quote, but it went something like this:

“I don’t know,” Samuelsen mused while the others cackled with delight over the finding, “there’s more support for him, in some places a lot more support for him, in every other country, and I’m not sure I believe we’re just that much smarter than every other country in Europe.”

He tried to make the point that a lot of countries have more than one political point of view reflected in their media, while Denmark is more monolithic, but either the conversation got derailed or I got distracted, because that’s where my recollection ends.

But I think he deserves some credit for at least acknowledging that something is rotten in Denmark.

Allan Silberbrandt also had some intelligent observations and legitimate questions and behaved like an actual journalist.

Everyone else, forget it. David Trads was acting as though he were a paid staffer on the Biden campaign, and expressed confidence (through a tweet) that Biden would win with at least 320 Electoral votes.

He’ll have plenty of time to watch those votes get counted, based on another tweet he sent out later in the evening:

Don’t feel too bad for poor old David Trads: his reaction to Trump’s infection with the virus was not what one would call gentlemanly.

That’s about all I got out of the Danish coverage.

From the American coverage, I had three major takeaways:

  • I want a Blue Diamond frying pan.
  • I want an X-Chair.
  • I want a Battery Daddy battery caddy.

My only other takeaway was that American pollsters have a lot to answer for. They were wildly off. And they can make all the excuses they want about the difficulties of polling, but there were pollsters who got it close to right… and they were dismissed as wild outliers by the establishment media despite having been the most accurate in 2016 (thinking mainly of Rasmussen and Suquehanna).

So here’s how it seems to work: the establishment American media promote the polls that give the results they want. They trumpet those results, giving them legitimacy and reinforcing the pollsters’ incentive to keep providing similar results. Danish media follow the lead of their American peers and, without an “alternative” source of political news available to the average Danish news consumer, Danes accept as fact what is mostly Democratic political spin.

That’s why Danes are less disapproving of Vladimir Putin than they are of Donald Trump.