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Republican fears of 'skewed' polls come roaring back

Donald Trump doesn't understand polling, so he sees conspiracies in anodyne survey methods.
Voting booths await voters in Red Oak, Iowa, Tuesday, June 3, 2014, ahead of the Iowa primary elections.
Voting booths await voters in Red Oak, Iowa, Tuesday, June 3, 2014, ahead of the Iowa primary elections.
Four years ago, many Republicans were caught off-guard by Mitt Romney's loss, despite ample polling data showing President Obama on track to win. The problem for much of the right is that conservatives saw the survey results, but were convinced the data had been "skewed" in Democrats' favor.And now, it's happening again.To be sure, some Republicans remember their 2012 mistakes. Rush Limbaugh, for example, told his audience yesterday, "I wish that I could sit here and tell you that I, without question, think the polls are rigged. I have thought so in previous elections.... In 2012, honest to God, folks, I thought Romney was gonna win by five or six."But Limbaugh's warnings aren't resonating broadly on the right. In fact, Donald Trump in particular is going out of his way to tell conservative voters that they shouldn't believe public-opinion data at all. Yesterday, the GOP nominee insisted Democrats "are making up phony polls in order to suppress the the [sic] Trump." What in the world does that mean? Trump is apparently just now hearing about oversampling -- which he clearly does not understand.

In fact, the GOP nominee has spent much of his dwindling time on the trail disparaging polls that show him down. Of late, Trump has begun decrying the polling practice of "oversampling" calling it a tactic of voter suppression. "It's called voter suppression," Trump extrapolated of the goals of oversampling. "Because people will say 'oh gee, Trump's out.' We're winning, we're winning."In actuality, oversampling is standard practice for pollsters and can give a deeper look into larger groups of voters.

Even Trump voters must be confused by now as to what they're supposed to believe. Trump is explicitly telling them he's both winning and losing, and at the same time, he's pointing to a standard element of many modern polls as evidence of "voter suppression," all while pointing to a stolen John Podesta email from eight years ago that Trump doesn't understand.NBC News' Mark Murray provided a helpful overview yesterday of what oversampling is all about, and the Pew Research Center published a summary of its purpose in public surveys.