John Oliver has ripped Donald Trump and Fox News host Sean Hannity over their insistence on citing unscientific polls to measure Trump’s success in the first presidential debate.
On Sunday night’s episode of “Last Week Tonight,” Oliver laid into the Republican presidential nominee’s claim that he won last week’s debate based on online participation polls in which anyone could vote repeatedly and anonymously.
“The clear problem with online polls is you can vote anonymously as many times as you want,” Oliver said. “That is how when a British government agency held a name-our-ship poll, the people’s overwhelming choice was ‘Boaty McBoatface.'”
He added: “And yet, Trump kept citing these bogus polls as did his media boosters like Sean Hannity.”
Oliver singled out Hannity, whom the host mocked for saying he “hear[s] what you’re saying” about the unreliability of unscientific polls.
“I’m not sure you do,” Oliver said. “In fact, I’m not sure you hear what your own company is saying.”
The late night host then cited an internal Fox News memo obtained by Business Insider requesting that Fox News reporters abstain from citing unscientific online polls, as the polls “are really just for fun.”
Unscientific online polls have become a headache for some real pollsters.
Many real pollsters say Trump’s insistence on the legitimacy of online polls has made pollsters themselves a target for some angry Trump supporters.
“People are calling and emailing us saying it’s unfair we had this poll and they didn’t get to vote,” Tom Jensen, the president of Public Policy Polling, told Business Insider. “It’s blurring the line between real polling and fake polling. We’ve never had this happen until this election cycle.”