Part 1: Polling’s Power of Suggestion

During the 2016 presidential election polls led the predictions of pundits and, in many cases swayed the beliefs of people. Based on the most popular polls, it was a given that Hillary Clinton would win the 2016 election. It was the first time I understood the power of polling over the people.

While researching why the 2016 republican primary and presidential polling were so wrong, I found the the conventional theory was that non-college-educated whites were under sampled. According to the theory it meant that that demographic didn’t answer the phone or hung up on pollsters, thus leaving them unaccounted for. Naturally, if more people supporting Hillary answered the survey it would seem as if she had more support for the people. Yet, this theory seems to have brought some comfort to the right as well. This is epitomized with the “democrat plantation” movement that has seen black republicans become the toast of the 2018 midterm elections. But, is under-sampling of non-college-educated whites the reason the polls were so wrong? Can poll numbers be skewed and manipulated before being made public? More on that after I show how only representing the two major parties on surveys can sway and keep the status quo going. Can not including all candidates in a poll create a misconception among voters as to who is the better candidate for a party?

Power of this misconception is exemplified in the New Jersey U.S. Senate race, where out of eight candidates only the republican and democrat candidates are listed in surveys. The most constitutional candidate, Independent Republican, Tricia Flanagan isn’t included in any of the surveys.

From my internal projections considering all candidates:

Menendez (D) 35.9%

Flanagan (I-R) 34.4%

Hugin (R) 28.1%

Sabrin (L) 0.4%

All other 1.2%

     Rivera (CR)

     Schroeder (I)

     Kimple (I)

     Hoffman (G)

+/- 2.9%

*This model is ENTIRELY dependent on voter turnout.

In two way polls, democrat candidate Bob Menendez is leading republican candidate Bob Hugin by a margin of 51% to 39%. Yet an internal poll conducted by Flanagan’s data science team has Menendez at 35.9%, Flanagan at 34.4%, and Hugin at 28.1% with all others at or below 1.2%

Here’s the NJ1st straw poll early results which is almost entirely made up of solely NJGOP respondents.  It squares within the margin of error of our internal polling results:

Then we have the ‘Straw Polls’. Politically, straw polls are common among caucuses. Straw polls are an attempt to demonstrate popular opinion. In the mind of James Cheef, straw polls politically are used to drive and direct popular opinion. When looking at the straw poll results above, the first thing that probably pops out is, Hugin at 69%, and Flanagan with 31%. The first thing that should pop out to any readers is, the fact that the results are made up of almost entirely New Jersey GOP respondents. This is an important fact because it says a lot about the picture painted when considering again that Hugin is the only straight up Republican running. The second thing that should pop out at readers is, the split screen with Flanagan and Sabrin. By placing a checkmark in the Flanagan column it is already known she has 31%. So why the need to show the picture of Sabrin in her portion of the screen with no divider? Especially when all other polls only show two candidates? Could it possibly lead to the mentality that Flanagan is merely running to split the votes? Which is a theory that makes no sense when again considering the fact that there are a total of eight candidates in the race.

All things considered, the two aspects of the straw poll that I pointed out are examples of how public opinion is driven and directed. First off, Hugin is the only straight republican on the ticket. Tricia Flanagan, due to the establishment nature of the NJGOP, is running as an Independent Republican, and Sabrin is a Libertarian. Since I write this article to point out “Polling’s Power of Suggestion”, and to clear up any confusion, I must point out that Bob Hugin recently began referring to himself as an Independent Republican on Fox News and other media outlets, only after Flanagan began gaining endorsements and gaining ground. Did you notice how effortlessly I used the power of suggestion? Albeit, what I pointed out about Bob Hugin is fact and public knowledge.

Part one of this article is to point out how polls are used to sway public opinion. Whether it’s to create a belief that a totally legitimate Constitutional candidate is running to take away votes in an eight candidate race which is unheard of, or to convince the voting public that only two candidates stand a chance at winning which is how the status quo establishment has become the norm that has created career politicians. These are but a couple of ways that Polling’s Power of Suggestion drives and directs popular opinion. When pollsters become biased the citizens lose. As friend and founder of and Big Data Polling said to me, “Don’t give my industry that type of power. We’re not virtuous enough to be responsible with it!” Richard Baris is the one pollster that accurately predicted a President Trump victory. Part two of this article will detail other areas in which polls drive and direct popular opinion.

James Cheef


  1. Sounds like Hugin is a little scared… I hope Tricia Flanagan wins the seat. I think she will be a wonderful asset to NJ and to this Country…

Comments are closed.