How the Polls Got It All Wrong
November 8, 2016 concluded with the victory of Donald Trump as the new president of the United States, a victory that shocked the world. Not only was the victory largely unexpected due to the general dismay of the public over the victory, but also because the polls preceding the elections told an entirely different story. Hillary Clinton was leading against Trump by a landslide margin of 48% in late September, according to Smith.
Donald Trump just made the presidential elections the greatest political upset in US history. The election polls and polling analyst argued over how certain they were about a Clinton victory. According to GQ, The New York Time’s said Hilary Clinton had 85 per cent chance of victory while The Huffing Post placed Clinton at 98.3%. Furthermore, the Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight had Clinton at 66.9% chance and the Princeton Election Consortium’s gave Hillary a 99% chance of winning.
The news media and pollsters got it all wrong. The pollsters underestimated the white turnout and overestimated the number of black and young voters who showed up on Election Day. Donald Trump tapped the white working class with no voting history to get new voters that was hard for pollsters and analysts to anticipate.
Shy supporters of Trump secretly kept their support from pollsters and avoided social pressure by denying their support for the candidate. Some evidence shows that some of the voters who participated in the survey did not admit that they were voting for Trump.
In other rare cases, many Americans were not yet ready to have a female president from a major political party. There is also an issue on how the polls were weighted, questions have been posed as to whether pollsters over sampled Democrats to skew results in favor of Clinton.
However, one of the greatest and, arguably, game-changing event for Trump, was the announcement by the FBI that they were still investigating Clinton for thousands of emails for alleged corruption. Back in July 4, in public polls, Clinton had a 4.1-point lead over Trump in the HuffPost pollster public polls. However, by July 17, her lead had sunk to 2.5 points, following the problems posed by the alleged corruption brought about by the uninvestigated emails.
Clinton received a late boost a day ahead of election and polling day when she was cleared of any corruption allegations by the FBI. By this time, however, most voters had already decided who to vote for. On the eve of election day, polls still put Clinton on the front, but her margin already shrank, except in the state of Ohio, where Trump was ahead significantly. Due to the general mishaps that occurred during the election period and because of the allegations of corruption, only 64% of voters who are voting for Clinton say that she is trustworthy or honest among democrats. Overall, 37% of voters stated that the Wikileaks information made them think of Clinton as less honest, which placed a large dent on her credibility.
Those are the reasons why on November 8, America elected its new president, Donald Trump, its prime choice over Hilary Clinton. While the world may still be reeling in shock and many are dismayed, the reasons behind the victory may not be so surprising after all. A Trump presidency can only hold surprises for America, and the rest of the world.
Follow Brosnan C. Hoban on Twitter @BrosnanHoban