2008 record      

 

If you're keeping score at home, the tally is Raghavan Mayur 2, Karl Rove zero.

Mayur is the Bergen County-based pollster who now has picked the last four presidential elections correctly.

Rove is the Texas-based pollster and political operative who was known as George W. Bush's svengali. He designed the red-state strategy for the Republican Party that Donald Trump threw out the window on his way to victory on Tuesday.

In 2012, Megyn Kelly of Fox News made a fool of Rove by walking over to the network's "decision desk" to have the experts debunk Rove's claim that Mitt Romney was still in a race he had clearly lost by then to Barack Obama.

And then in 2016, Rove went on Fox News to predict Trump would lose to Hillary Clinton. "I don't see it happening," Rove said of a Trump victory.

Coincidentally, that was the same day I had a column quoting Mayur to the effect that not only could it happen, there was an excellent chance it would.

"You've got to keep in mind the intensity of Democrats is not as high as what Trump has," he said then. "Clinton is not able to excite the base as much as Obama was able to."

Mayur's firm Technometrica conducts the Investor's Business Daily Poll, which was rated the "most accurate" poll of the three prior elections.

Make that four. Only the IBD/TIPP Poll and the L.A. Times/USC poll had Trump ahead on Election Day.

In both cases, Trump's lead was within the margin of error. That means you wouldn't have wanted to bet the house on Trump based on those polls.

On the other hand, I won a couple of six-packs by betting that Trump would be the next president.

My theory was the same as Mayur's: In a neck-and-neck race, the enthusiasm factor would win it for Trump.

That got Mayur's poll termed "an outlier" by a lot of people who turned out not to be as good at math as he was.

"I never thought I was an outlier; I thought it was going to be very close race," he told me when I phoned him the other day. "I was seeing this surge of enthusiasm among Republicans and I didn't know what to make of it."

That sums up the attitude any professional should have to polling. No matter how good a poll is, it offers only a general indication of what will occur on Election Day.

So why were so many politicians, pundits and prognosticators positive that Clinton had this one in the bag? That's a mystery to me.

Mayur's poll is a national one, but this was a state-by-state election.

By Monday, the RealClearPolitics was offering an electoral map of "no-tossup states" – states in which one candidate or the other was leading in whatever polls were out there.

The electoral vote tally was 272 for Clinton to 266 for Trump. That indicated a race that was too close to call, not a runaway.

So did the polls of Florida, which has become the pivotal state in presidential elections. They were dead even. Other key states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio were within the margin of error.

It looked like Clinton might win a squeaker, but she certainly wasn't on her way to a landslide.

So why the shock when she lost?

"The sideshow is that the media is in the tank for Clinton and that also drives the narrative," Mayur said. "I think the populist sentiment was missed totally."

So do I. I don't see how so many of my fellow journalists could miss what was going on right before their eyes.

Trump could attract tens of thousands to his rallies just by sending out a Tweet. Clinton needed stars like Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi to attract such crowds.

And anyone who was paying attention had to notice that most of the people at those rallies were the very same blue-collar voters who are most prominent in the Rust Belt states that Trump needed to win.

The Democrats should have gone into Tuesday night praying for success in those states. Instead they were overconfident and ready to party.

But they shouldn't feel bad. Republicans made the exact same mistake four years ago.

Rove managed to be on the wrong side of both elections. And now his red-state strategy has been made obsolete. That marks a fitting end to the Bush legacy in the GOP.

As for Mayur, he doesn't have a role in politics. He just calls 'em as he sees 'em.

And he sees 'em better than the rest.

Click here to read the original article at the Star Ledger website.

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