At this point in the runup to the 2020 election, the right-wing polling firm Trafalgar Group was riding high on having stood out for its prediction that Donald Trump would win election in 2016.
“Trafalgar chief pollster predicts Trump victory: ‘Polls predominantly missing the hidden vote,” The Hill reported, quoting from an appearance by Trafalgar’s Robert Cahaly on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show two weeks before the election. On the even of the election, the New York Times featured Cahaly as “the one pollster in America who is certain Trump is going to win.”
Trump would go on to lose to President Joe Biden by a margin of 7 million votes and 74 electoral votes.
In its final polls before the 2020 Trafalgar – which is unabashedly pro-Republican – had incorrectly predicted Trump would win Georgia by 4.3%, Michigan and Arizona by 2.5% and Pennsylvania by 1.9%. Had Trafalgar Group been right, Trump would have defeated Biden by 54 electoral votes.
But Trafalgar missed the 2020 calls by margins of 4.5%, 5.3%, 3.1% and 2.8%, respectively. And Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga, and John James, R-MI, would be U.S. Senators and not the private citizens they have been since losing in that election.
Still, Cahaly and his Trafalgar Group have a high profile in the media. And the pollster hasn’t let blowing so many calls in 2020 reduce his swagger in 2022.
In a blizzard of media appearances, Cahaly is cackling about Republicans winning “every battleground state and more,” having a “real possibility” of three statewide wins in Minnesota, of “submerged voters” delivering an electoral shock to Biden and of Black and Hispanic voters moving to the Republican side in “unprecedented” numbers.
Whether any or all of that happens won’t be known until November 8. But despite all the confident talk in the media from Cahaly about Republicans staging a red wave on Tuesday, the only recent U.S. Senate poll it has published shows Republican Mehmet Oz defeating Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman by just two points. Which, to borrow the results from 2020, would be within the margin of Trafalgar error.