NBC’s 1980 Election Night Coverage: Shock, Dismay — and Faulty Polling

NBC’s 1980 Election Night Coverage: Shock, Dismay — and Faulty Polling, by Rush Limbaugh.

The polling data in 1980 had Jimmy Carter nine points, winning by nine points, four or five days out. … Election night coverage November 4th, 1980, NBC. …

[Anchor John Chancellor’s open]: We have been (exit) polling around the country in the key states, NBC News and the Associated Press, and what we’re learning in the key states is that makes us believe that Ronald Reagan will win a very substantial victory tonight. Very substantial.  That’s our belief as of the moment based on polls in key states.

[David Brinkley, resident experienced guru at NBC, after Reagan has been declared winner early in the night]:  I’d like to ask a question of you folks.  We have here what I think reasonably could be called a landslide or certainly something approaching a landslide.  Where did it come from?  Nobody anticipated it.  No polls predicted it.  No one saw it coming.  How did that happen?  I don’t want to knock the polls, because I believe in them, and they generally do very good work.  One thing I wondered.  Have a lot of people — did a lot of people decide to vote for Reagan, but didn’t want to say so?

Rush Limbaugh, commenting today:

Reagan comes out of nowhere, at least as far as these people are concerned in the establishment.  I cannot emphasize for you, folks, …  back in 1980, the media and the Washington-New York establishment was as disdainful of Ronald Reagan as they are of Trump. … the Republican establishment hated Ronald Reagan too, just like the Democrat establishment did.