Except that the post-debate “polls” the GOP nominee and campaign kept touting that he won on social media, at his rally in Florida and in press releases aren’t polls at all. They’re essentially unscientific Internet popularity contests, are not weighted as to what the electorate will actually look like, and have no predictive value. In fact, if you’re worried about voter fraud, in many of these surveys people can vote multiple times and they can easily be rigged by Internet bots.
Many of the results he cited came from very Trump-friendly sites, such as Breitbart News and the Drudge Report. Some of these polls were shared by Trump supporters on reddit, encouraging people to go vote. These were not selective samples with any merit, and in no way could they accurately measure whether the more than 81 million people who tuned in for the debate thought Trump did better than Hillary Clinton.
Even though Fox News repeatedly touted the same results Trump trumpeted on air and online, Business Insider reported that the network’s polling director, Dana Blanton, warned that such polls “do not meet our editorial standards”:
Huffington Post polling director Ariel Edwards-Levy explained the vast difference between these polls Trump loves so much and ones that are actually predictive and useful:
Republican pollster Glen Bolger said it was unfortunate that these post-debate surveys, intended to drive traffic, were even conducted because they muddied the water for legitimate polls.
“It’s a disservice by the media outlets that do them, and there’s nothing scientific, nothing rigorous about them,” Bolger said. “It’s whoever goes on the website and wants to take the poll. And obviously a bunch of them are going to be self-selected toward the partisanship of their readership. There’s just nothing good in them, there’s just no point to them.”
In fact, …