The summary of what follows is the major media continue to present Trump's chances in the least favorable light possible, far past the point where any plausible deniability that an attempt is being made to present news on the Republican presidential nomination in an objective fashion can be seriously offered. So if the specifics are of little interest, don't waste your time. I get that to point out the mendacity of a media structure whose relevance is in a state of perpetual decline is to point out the obvious, but it is still worth doing from time to time if for no other reason than to remind those who don't follow the major media closely that things haven't changed much.
Headline: Trump falls 12 points in a week!
It comes from Reuters' daily tracking, which had Trump as high as 42.9% at one point during November, distantly trailed by a #2 at 13.6%. If you're following the Real Clear Politics average that has been used to determine the debate lineups that have occurred thus far, you'll immediately recognize how out-of-line the Reuters numbers are with the other polls that make up the RCP average. Even after appearing to fall over a cherry-picked five-day period to 31%, Reuters had Trump up on second place by over 15 points, a margin wider than any of those included in the RCP average. Parenthetically, over the subsequent five days, Trump has climbed back to 36% in the Reuters poll, more than 20 points ahead of #2.
From RCP's average, the astute observer will also notice a seemingly inexplicable two week period in the first half of November when no new data were incorporated into the rolling average:
Curiously, that two week period began immediately after a couple of recent polls had shown Carson neck-and-neck with Trump. The red dash on the left shows when the fortnight of silence began and the oval on the right shows the polls that were used to show the current RCP average during that two-week period. Polls since then have shown Trump leading significantly.
So we have a media complex that was mum on Reuters polling (which is internet-based) throughout the first several months of the campaign when it found Trump's lead to be even wider than the phone-based polls that RCP uses were showing. Then when Trump takes an apparent dive in that ongoing tracking poll that had until then remained hidden in plain sight, the headlines converge on the magnitude of the apparent drop.
Parenthetically, I don't use "apparent" flippantly here. The range of error on these tracking polls is around 5-7 points. For example, when Reuters had Trump at 31% a week ago, it also noted that this suggested his true support was somewhere in the 27%-37% range! To report putative climbs or drops from a single poll that are within the margin of error of what other recent polls have shown is irresponsible and also suggests innumeracy.
And we also have a media complex that sits on polling data when what has already been revealed makes it look like someone is closing the gap on Trump, the hope being that by artificially keeping the Trump-losing-ground narrative around for awhile, Trump's actual support will fade. As Trump's lead in the phone-based polling amalgamation is now, at 10 points, consistently larger than it has been at any point since September, that media tactic had to be shelved for the time being.
If you need a reminder of why Trump must be the candidate of the dissident right, here he is trashing two of the most prominent members of the neocon old guard from the Bush years. First, Bill Kristol:
And then, channeling Steve Sailer, he tears into Karl Rove.