US Public Opinion Institutions Need To Reflect Post-Election

Regardless of the results of the U.S. presidential election,* there is an additional loser: the American polling system. They repeatedly published poll results saying that Joe Biden held a national support rate over 10% higher than that of Donald Trump, but Biden’s popular vote rate is only about 2.4% higher than that of Trump, and in reality, the two are in a tight race. In battleground states, there were polls that said Biden held a lead over Trump of 5% in Florida and 4% in Ohio, both states that Trump won in the end.

Although the criticism is directed at polling agencies, American mainstream media should take even more responsibility for this false picture of public opinion. Many mainstream media sources consulted and published distorted polls. Their proactive reporting of domestic issues in the long term also constructed false representations of American public opinion, undermined the social environment of the polls and exacerbated the distortion of public opinion polls.

As a whole, polling is not the only point of issue with America’s public opinion mechanisms. Their values are fairly radical and not open or inclusive enough. Under the two-party system, Americans are not detached or independent enough, and have alliances that are too deep, which has severely weakened their ability to report objectively on domestic issues. In reporting on the U.S. presidential election, American media has often become more of a fighter in the battle rather than a neutral reporter.

We believe that political positions and preferences in elections will have a subtle impact on the design of opinion polls.

Evidently, the bias of American public opinion institutions is no longer an isolated incident, but instead has been widely rationalized within the industry, and has become a part of practitioners’ views of professionalism and standards within the industry. When many people do this, they will not think they could have possibly strayed from the truth, and definitely will not think they have deviated from the standards of authenticity. The truth and objectiveness that they flaunt has actually been seriously refracted by their values.

Let’s take a minute to imagine how many falsehoods would be told if these same biased, polarized domestic polling institutions targeted China. Domestically, the deviation of their reports will be constrained by the target audience, but when discussing China, their influence and lead over the American people is much stronger. With China-related issues, the general consistency with their audience’s interests and values will allow them to use the reports at will, so much that even if they are wrong, they will not be held accountable. Imagine what they could do with something like this!

Thus, whether consciously or not, they will make polarized, self-indulgent reports on China. They have collectively constructed a view of China as a strange nation with almost inhuman tendencies. In their description, China is a country that infringes upon human rights, suppresses the human nature of its people, is outrageous and aggressive, and is always preparing to start a war. In reality, the livelihood of Chinese people has undergone earth-shattering changes over the years, and the Chinese economy has integrated with the world. There is frequent exchange between Chinese and Western personnel, and China is the superpower that has not had war with any other nation for the longest period of time. How can these two different Chinas possibly be the same?

American public opinion institutions have created a problem for America’s domestic narration. The election seemed as if they opened the door to a black room and tried to make a prediction. Actually, they can do some tests on their reports on China. With the COVID-19 pandemic, China and the U.S. had radically different performances. Seeing China’s accomplishments in fighting COVID-19 and economic recovery, is this not enough to challenge American and other Westerners’ prejudices against China and cause them to reflect on their biases?

How can a thriving country with outstanding accomplishments in improving the well-being of its people be described as a cruel, tyrannical government by Western elites and public opinion institutions? China’s care for its people be any less than the “political charity” sent by the U.S. government? How can such strange logic exist in this world?

I hope that American public opinion institutions can return to Earth from the clouds, swallow their pride and do the proper self-reflection on the professionalism and morals of their industry. This is the obedience and respect they should have toward morality and responsibility.

*Editor’s note: The presidential race was called for Biden on Nov. 7.

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