Conservative pollster who predicted ‘Red Wave’ says GOP can’t ‘strategize’

Republican Trafalgar Group polls GOP Strategy Midterms
This undated file photo shows a person filling out a ballot. Trafalgar Group CEO Robert Cahaly recently blamed his polling firm’s inaccurate 2022 midterm polls on the GOP’s poor “strategy” and efforts to “get the vote out.”
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A conservative pollster who grossly miscalculated the 2022 midterm election has attributed the lack of a “red wave” to poor Republican turnout and the GOP’s failure to “think strategically.”

Trafalgar Group CEO Robert Cahaly was one of only a few pollsters to correctly predict former President Donald Trump’s victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, despite the largely absent GOP support.

During an interview published by new York Magazine on Thursday, Cahaly defended his voting methods, arguing that the Republican Party’s poor strategy and its inability to “get the vote out” were largely to blame for his polls being out of sync with the election results.

“If you want to ask what I think happened — and we’re going to spend a lot of time studying that — but on the face of it Republicans have no idea how to get the vote out,” Cahaly said. “The Democrats are very good at it… The bottom line is that the Democrats had a better overall strategy. Republicans just haven’t come up with a good strategy.”

“It’s hard to predict that one party would do such a great job of voting in target states and the other party would do such a terrible job of voting in target states,” he added.

Cahaly said there was “no question” Democrats were able to siphon off some Republican votes in races with more divisive GOP candidates. He also said the Trafalgar Group “should have simply foreseen” that a large number of young people would vote in the election.

A recent analysis by Tufts University’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement found that turnout among 18-29 year olds was the second-highest since the early 1990s, with Democrats winning the youth election by a 28-28 margin leading points.

Alan Abramowitz, a professor of political science at Emory University and an expert in public opinion research, said news week that Cahaly blamed GOP strategy and turnout efforts for his firm’s inaccurate polling made “no sense.”

“Pre-election polls are designed to factor turnout into their estimates by identifying likely voters,” Abramowitz said. “Indeed, Cahaly has claimed in the past that his poll has performed better than traditional polls in identifying likely voters, particularly low-inclined white working-class voters who voted for Trump in greater numbers than expected in 2016 and 2020.”

“Now he’s trying to do both — claiming special expertise and identifying likely voters and blaming low turnout among Republican voters for his failures in 2022,” he continued. “Indeed, that turnout could not possibly explain the massive errors in some of Cahaly’s 2022 polls.”

Before the midterms, Abramowitz correctly predicted that Democrats would lose their majority in the House, but said losing the Senate was “less certain” and argued that Democrats were unlikely to “see a shot” in any chamber.

Cahaly’s misfires in 2022 included predictions that Republicans Mehmet Oz and Blake Masters would win their Senate races in Pennsylvania and Arizona, while GOP candidates Tudor Dixon and Mark Ronchetti would win gubernatorial elections in Michigan and New Mexico.

Polls by the Trafalgar Group that correctly predicted 2022 election winners often included wildly inaccurate profit margins skewed heavily in favor of Republicans.

news week has reached out to the Republican National Committee for comment. Conservative pollster who predicted ‘Red Wave’ says GOP can’t ‘strategize’

Rick Schindler

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