Matt Drudge of The Drudge Report teased the political and media establishment with a graphic seemingly vindicating his online polls after Donald Trump’s strong victory in the South Carolina presidential primary.
“OMG!” Drudge wrote on Twitter, captioning a graphic of the current delegate tally in the Republican presidential primary. “Looks like the latest DRUDGE REPORT poll results! How can that be?” He punctuated the message with a winking kiss emoji.
The graphic shows Donald Trump leading with 61 delegates, then Ted Cruz with eleven, Marco Rubio with ten, John Kasich with five, and Ben Carson with three.
For comparison, the latest Drudge poll after a debate in South Carolina showed these results:
And Drudge’s monster poll at the end of January, not linked to any debate–which gained nearly 1.5 million votes:
Drudge’s polls are not scientific in their methodology, but they do have a finger on the pulse of whose camp is most enthusiastic. In a year where conventional knowledge has predicted little, these snapshots of how the online world–trolls, spammers, and all–sees each candidate may end up surprisingly prescient. As Jimmy LaSalvia wrote in Salon before the Iowa caucus:
Again, the Drudge polls are immediate and unscientific. Anyone can participate. They’re not weighted for demographic balance, one person might vote multiple times from different computers, or their phone. It’s a snapshot of one piece of the conservative base. They might remind some of an online version of the 1936 survey that changed polling forever: the Literary Digest calling the presidential election for Alf Landon over Franklin Roosevelt, and getting it horribly wrong because their self-selected audience did not accurately reflect the country.
But this isn’t about who would win in November between Trump and Hillary. An online poll on a site beloved by conservatives would never accurately reflect that. But as a measure of fervor within a primary, it captures something real about the passion and the intensity of Trump’s support among the base.
While Drudge didn’t name names of the intended targets, Republican consultants, GOP moderates, establishment figures, reporters, and conservative Trump critics have mocked his polls often.
Drudge sent only one other tweet the same night, deleting all of the account’s past messages–as is his custom. He remarked in this first tweet: “Clinton vs. Trump is the race America deserves. EPIC. WILD. NASTY. FUN.”