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House Democrat warns about 'inaccurate' polls: Trump voters 'fundamentally undercounted'

Democratic Rep. Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinBickering Democrats return with divisions Questions swirl at Pentagon after wave of departures Overnight Defense: Another Defense official resigns | Pentagon chief says military 'remains strong' despite purge | Top contender for Biden DOD secretary would be historic pick MORE (Mich.), a first-term member who represents a district President TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge MORE won by roughly 7 points in 2016, said that polls showing the president trailing former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Biden transition adds new members to coronavirus task force MORE are “inaccurate.”

“I don’t believe it,” Slotkin told Politico Magazine when asked about recent polls showing Biden performing well in key swing states, such as Michigan. FiveThirtyEight currently has Biden nearly 10 points ahead of Trump in Slotkin’s state of Michigan.  

The former CIA analyst said there are too many variables at play for a poll to accurately reflect what will happen in November. 

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“Listen, if anyone tells me they can accurately predict what major events are coming in the remainder of 2020, I’ll give them a thousand dollars,” Slotkin said. “I mean, this has been the year of black swans. … I don’t for one minute think this [presidential] race is safe in anyone’s column. I’ve been literally begging people to ignore those polls. They are a snapshot in time. And if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we have no idea what’s coming next.”

Slotkin, who was part of a wave of Democrats who won races in 2018, is considered one of the more vulnerable Democrats facing reelection this November. She was one of several swing district Democrats to face scrutiny from Republicans in her district over the House's impeachment vote. 

Slotkins said when she hired a pollster in 2018, she used a tactic she learned while working at the Pentagon to probe them on why they didn’t accurately predict the results of the 2016 election. 

“He told me that they fundamentally undercounted the Trump vote; that the Trump voter is not a voter in every single election, that they come out for Trump, so they’re hard to count,” Slotkin said of Al Quinlan of GQR, a large Washington-based polling firm.

Surveys often count people they determine are “likely voters,” but Slotkin learned that a person who tells a pollster that they don’t have plans to vote but may ultimately do so “were fundamentally undercounted.”

“I believe that same thing is happening right now,” Slotkin said.