Pollsters got it wrong in last presidential election

HayJenn

Moderator
Jul 2014
67,424
56,368
CA
#81
Take a look at the states you said the pollsters “got right”:


I had noted that Trump beat the pollsters numbers by 7.5 in Missouri.

In Ohio he beat the polls by 4.6

In Iowa it was 6.5

In Minnesota the polls were way off in terms of Trump’s margin of victory.


In those states, if you are going to talk about margin of error, the pollsters got it wrong. Trump performed better than than the polling and the gap was bigger than the margin of error.

As much as everyone wants to make excuses for the pollsters, the fact remains that the media and many Clinton supporters were shocked by the election results. I can post videos showing that.

The point is, regardless of what spin anybody puts on it, the polls leading up to the 2016 vote were not helpful to Clinton. The media created the expectation that Clinton was going to win and it probably caused some voter apathy among people who would have voted for Clinton.
I don't why you keep focusing on states that were never going to be swing states. I mean it pretty much a given that Missouri would never vote for Clinton.
 
May 2007
4,732
2,372
your place
#83
I don't why you keep focusing on states that were never going to be swing states. I mean it pretty much a given that Missouri would never vote for Clinton.

It is weird how combative the responses are that I am getting. To say I “keep focusing” on states that were going to vote for Trump is not an accurate statement. I had previously made the point that polls for California and Texas didn’t really matter because we already knew where they would land.



The point is that in Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, and Ohio, the polls all got it wrong in terms of margin of error. He won by much more than what the polls indicated. That supports the idea that the polls got it wrong. There was something about Trump and/or his voters they got wrong. They also probably overestimated what percentage of Clinton supporters would show up. If they just were generally were off, that is one thing. The fact is that they were off in a specific direction. The fact that they got it wrong and the media got it wrong also played into Trump’s “fake news” narrative that is accepted by so many of his supporters.

Basically, the polls and the media coverage hurt the democrats by creating complacency. The lesson from that is to not repeat the same mistake and put so much trust in the polls.
 

kmiller1610

Former Staff
Mar 2007
32,516
6,414
#84
Did the pollsters get the midterms right or wrong? Will they be right or wrong in 2020? You might want to consider what you are going on about when it comes to the next elections and beyond.

BTW, I know Trump Trolls looking for Trump chumps won't like to hear this, but as damaged (by wikileaks and the work of trolls for Trump, foreign and domestic) as she was, Clinton still won a plurality of votes nationwide, by almost as many votes as G.W. Bush won his 2004 election.
And she lost the rust belt which has been a Dem stronghold forever. She did not pay attention to a natural Dem base.
 

HayJenn

Moderator
Jul 2014
67,424
56,368
CA
#85
It is weird how combative the responses are that I am getting. To say I “keep focusing” on states that were going to vote for Trump is not an accurate statement. I had previously made the point that polls for California and Texas didn’t really matter because we already knew where they would land.



The point is that in Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, and Ohio, the polls all got it wrong in terms of margin of error. He won by much more than what the polls indicated. That supports the idea that the polls got it wrong. There was something about Trump and/or his voters they got wrong. They also probably overestimated what percentage of Clinton supporters would show up. If they just were generally were off, that is one thing. The fact is that they were off in a specific direction. The fact that they got it wrong and the media got it wrong also played into Trump’s “fake news” narrative that is accepted by so many of his supporters.

Basically, the polls and the media coverage hurt the democrats by creating complacency. The lesson from that is to not repeat the same mistake and put so much trust in the polls.
Swing states are all that matter in a Presidental Election.

I agree with you though that a lot of Trump supporters probably were not truthful with the pollsters, and that Clinton voters were too complacent.

That won't happen again.

Just look at the mid-terms. One of the biggest in terms of people who voted by a historic margin.

And spare me the "fake news" crap.

Media reports what the polls look like at any given time during the campaign.

In the end, again, were within the margin of error, especially after the Comey letter dropped a few weeks before the election.

Interesting demographics though for the 2020 election. Looks like Texas will be a purple state in the near future.
 
May 2007
4,732
2,372
your place
#87
Swing states are all that matter in a Presidental Election.

I agree with you though that a lot of Trump supporters probably were not truthful with the pollsters, and that Clinton voters were too complacent.

That won't happen again.

Just look at the mid-terms. One of the biggest in terms of people who voted by a historic margin.

And spare me the "fake news" crap.

Media reports what the polls look like at any given time during the campaign.

In the end, again, were within the margin of error, especially after the Comey letter dropped a few weeks before the election.

Interesting demographics though for the 2020 election. Looks like Texas will be a purple state in the near future.

Your responses seem a little grouchy. I am not using the term “fake news” to make a comment about the media. I was pointing out that when the media reported the poll numbers showing Clinton ahead and then Trump ended up being the winner, that played into Trump’s “fake news” narrative and built trust with his supporters. That is a positive for Trump. It helps him with his base.
 
Mar 2019
228
136
Portland, OR
#89
Take a look at the states you said the pollsters “got right”:


I had noted that Trump beat the pollsters numbers by 7.5 in Missouri.

In Ohio he beat the polls by 4.6

In Iowa it was 6.5

In Minnesota the polls were way off in terms of Trump’s margin of victory.


In those states, if you are going to talk about margin of error, the pollsters got it wrong. Trump performed better than than the polling and the gap was bigger than the margin of error.

As much as everyone wants to make excuses for the pollsters, the fact remains that the media and many Clinton supporters were shocked by the election results. I can post videos showing that.

The point is, regardless of what spin anybody puts on it, the polls leading up to the 2016 vote were not helpful to Clinton. The media created the expectation that Clinton was going to win and it probably caused some voter apathy among people who would have voted for Clinton.
You are right that the polls consistently underestimated Trump's support. Here are some likely reasons for this:
1: Response rates to pollsters are rapidly declining, leading to less and less accurate polls. This is turning polls into self-selecting samples and pollsters will make assumptions about demographics about the people who will vote that can easily be very wrong. If pollster assumed the demographics would be like 2012, but it was more like 2004, then the polls will underestimate Trump's support. If Hillary supporters were more likely to respond to polls, then they will overestimate her support.
2: Trump shame. Many people in the middle personally didn't like Trump and both Trump and Hillary had only about a 40% approval. Many of these people were just undecided and didn't want to publicly say that they would actually vote for Trump over Hillary. So when these undecided people walked into the ballot box and actually had to make a hard choice, they did the unexpected.
3: Last minute Trump surge. At the very end of the election, Trump was enjoying a big surge as his sex-harassment bragging video was wearing off, Hillary wikileaks were coming out, and Hillary's email investigation was re-opened. Most of the polls were not done right on election day, and were done a few days before, which means they couldn't take into account anything that happened between their closing and the election.

I hope we can both agree is that even if a poll is wrong about how much a candidate won a state, what matters is whether they got the end-result right, because that is what really matters. Polls were correct about 77% of swing states, but unfortunately the election was so close that this accuracy wasn't good enough. Another consideration is that the media was predicting a much bigger Trump victory than the polls were saying. The polls were saying the election was a complete toss-up while the media was predicting a 2008-like victory for Hillary.
 

Rasselas

Former Staff
Feb 2010
69,953
46,018
USA
#90
That sounds like pundit-talk.
What does that even mean? Some people speak intelligently, honestly, and in an informed way about issues. Others blather without understanding. Your reducing both to "pundit talk" sounds like you really don't know how to tell the difference. That's a shame.
Each state had its own polling.
Public polling at the state level was scanty (it was done less often) and involved much smaller samples. It was also done by different organizations--smaller orgs with fewer resources (or an axe to grind) make local polling less authoritative. These conditions naturally lead to less certainty--which usually shows up as wider margins of error. [quiote]It wasn’t regional polling. It was state by state polling. They do it that way because it is a a contest for EC votes. If they got it wrong in 3 separate states then that means that three separate sets of polls were wrong.[/QUOTE]'They" don't do it. National polls are done by large and well-known organizations--the kinds of pollsters who do enough polling that everyone knows their 'house bias" and their methodologies are documented. The haphazard patchwork of occasional state polling is much less reliable.

It's important to know what polling can say (and what it can't), the methodologies and biases of the orgs doing the polling, the particular challenges in doing polling recently (the fact that generating enough responses to matter gets more and more difficult all the time. If you think all this is "pundit-talk" then you really should learn more about how polling works.