Polls missed sup­port for Trump

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By BLOOMBERG

US sur­vey com­pa­nies and me­dia or­ga­ni­za­tions that col­lec­tively pre­saged a close Hil­lary Clin­ton vic­tory now face an au­topsy on how they got it so wrong af­ter a year suf­fused by polls, ag­gre­gates of polls and even real-time pro­jec­tions of the vote on Election Day.

While the pre­dic­tions gave some ob­servers a sooth­ing sense of cer­tainty, ac­tual vot­ers still pos­sessed the ca­pac­ity to shock. Don­ald Trump’s com­mand­ing per­for­mance de­fied the fi­nal sur­veys of the Amer­i­can elec­torate, which broadly pre­dicted a Clin­ton win of 2 to 4 per­cent­age points.

Fi­nal tal­lies by CBS News, FiveThir­tyEight, Fox News, Wall Street Jour­nal-NBC News and Wash­ing­ton PostABC News all pre­dicted a rel­a­tively safe 4-point win for Clin­ton.

Only slightly less wrong were polls by Bloomberg Pol­i­tics and New York Times’s Up­shot, which es­ti­mated a Clin­ton vic­tory by 3 points. Ras­mussen Re­ports called for a 2-point Clin­ton tri­umph.

A few got it right: The USC/ Los An­ge­les Times Day­break track­ing poll and The In­vestor’s Busi­ness Daily-Tech­noMet­rica Mar­ket In­tel­li­gence poll were among the rare out­fits to call the election for Trump, by 3 and 2 points, re­spec­tively.

The Univer­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia and the LA Times poll had given Trump a sig­nif­i­cant chance to win over the past four months. The news­pa­per noted that it ad­justed polling data to weight it in a “best case sce­nario” for Trump, un­like other news out­lets that may have un­der­es­ti­mated Trump sup­port­ers.

“It’s harder and harder to poll to­day, to get a sam­ple that looks like the elec­torate,” said Kar­lyn Bow­man, a pub­lic opin­ion an­a­lyst at the Amer­i­can En­ter­prise In­sti­tute in Wash­ing­ton. “We’ve seen epic fails.”

“The anger is stronger than any of us re­ally ex­pected,” said Me­gan Greene, chief econ­o­mist at Man­ulife As­set Man­age­ment in Bos­ton, which han­dles money for in­sti­tu­tional in­vestors such as pen­sions and foun­da­tions.

In the US, ques­tions linger about how to slice the elec­torate and how to weight un­der­rep­re­sented de­mo­graph­ics — whether by eth­nic­ity or lo­ca­tion or po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tion — while Amer­i­cans in­creas­ingly with­draw from sur­vey par­tic­i­pa­tion and view poll­sters them­selves through a po­lit­i­cal lens.

Peter Wool­ley, a pro­fes­sor of com­par­a­tive pol­i­tics at Fair­leigh Dick­in­son Univer­sity in Florham Park, New Jersey, said a key part of the dif­fer­ence be­tween ex­pec­ta­tions and the re­sults was that peo­ple sim­ply ex­pected sur­veys to be too pre­cise. Wool­ley is a past direc­tor of the PublicMind polling in­sti­tute at the univer­sity.

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