Fox News host Melissa Francis admitted on Thursday that she doesn’t trust her own network’s polling—conducted by a group considered among the industry’s most trustworthy pollsters—while also claiming on-air that she deliberately misleads pollsters when they call her.
With President Donald Trump trailing former Vice President Joe Biden by double digits in many national and battleground state polls, a narrative has formed that there are so-called “secret Trump voters” who don’t feel comfortable expressing their support for the president. A recent Monmouth poll in Pennsylvania, which finds Biden up by 13 points, shows that a majority of voters in the state believe a secret Trump vote exists.
“The media consistently reports that Biden is in the lead, but voters remember what happened in 2016. The specter of a secret Trump vote looms large in 2020,” Monmouth pollster Patrick Murray wrote upon the poll’s release.
During a Thursday afternoon Fox News discussion on Brad Parscale’s demotion as Trump campaign manager, Francis expressed her distrust of political polling by citing her own experience with deceiving pollsters.
After fellow Fox host Lisa “Kennedy” Montgomery said the 2016 polls were “completely wrong” and that current polls are using that same methodology, Francis noted that she is “familiar” with the polls because she has been polled twice recently.
“Because I’m not affiliated with a party, I am married, I have three children,” she said. “I think I am a woman of a certain age, so I am sort of the vote that people are looking for. I have a blast when they call me.”
“None of the information—sometimes I’m somebody who voted for [New York Mayor Bill] de Blasio but now I was thinking about Trump,” Francis continued. “Sometimes it just depends how I toy with these folks.”
After this writer tweeted out a clip of Francis’ comments while asking “are Fox News hosts now claiming they openly lie to pollsters to help push the narrative that all the polls are wrong,” the Fox News personality responded that polling is “garbage.”
“Any pollster who calls me - I do not tell the truth,” she wrote. “It’s not their business. But I misled them left and right in equal measure. Polling is in fact garbage. I also do *always* disclose where I work and ask from whom they purchased my information.”
When asked whether this meant that she believed her own network’s polls are also “garbage,” Francis replied: “I don’t trust any polling at all based on my personal experience.”
Interestingly, despite claiming to find all polling to be “garbage,” Twitter sleuths pointed out that she has a history of boosting polling data that supports various Fox-friendly narratives.
Francis later tweeted that she has never heard anyone tell her they've been contacted by a pollster but that she personally has been polled “20 times in the past 5 years.” She added that this has “undermined my own personal confidence in polling, that is my opinion.”
According to poll analysis digital outlet FiveThirtyEight, Fox News is rated as one of the most accurate polling organizations, with an A rating.
Furthermore, much has been made about the inaccuracy of the 2016 presidential election polls. Post-election analysis, however, shows that the accuracy of the national polls was pretty much on par with every election of the past 50 years. The average of the final polls was also largely in line with Hillary Clinton two-point popular vote win.
Beyond that, polling since the 2016 election has been even more accurate. During the 2018 midterm elections, which resulted in a blue wave in the House of Representatives, non-partisan polls were far more accurate than any average poll since 1998.