How did the pollsters get it so wrong?

Alana Goodman — Daily Mail Nov 9, 2016

On the eve of election night, the New York Times’s polling desk projected that Hillary Clinton had an 85 percent chance of winning the U.S. presidential election

By 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday Clinton’s numbers started cratering quickly — until, within the hour, Donald J. Trump was favored by the New York Times to win by over 77 percent. 

He quickly picked up wins by surprising margins in major swing states such as Florida, Ohio, North Carolina  and Wisconsin. 

How did the pollsters get it so wrong?

‘We are trying to puzzle this out. Almost all polls were wrong, national and battleground states. Why?’ said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, who had predicted Clinton would win with 322 electoral votes.

‘This is worse than ‘Dewey Defeats Truman,” said Sabato ‘There were only a few polls back then. At least 90 percent of hundreds of surveys were wrong. Those of us who model from polls use their data; garbage in, garbage out.’

‘We’ll be studying this for many years to come. Your Brexit polls really weren’t off by more than a few percent. 

‘Our polls were dramatically off,’ he added. ‘And let me add, today’s exit poll had Clinton winning almost everywhere at 5 pm. No doubt they’ve ‘adjusted’ it.’

Sabato said he believed pollsters miscalculated by underestimating white turnout in rural areas and overestimating the number of black and millennial voters who would show up on Election Day.

‘Rural white turnout was through the roof, and black turnout was down,’ said Sabato. ‘Clinton just didn’t excite African-Americans and millennials.’

As pollsters and journalists struggled to comprehend the numbers showing Trump over-performing in states such as Florida, Ohio and Virginia, supporters of Trump said the reason the speculators got it wrong was partisan bias.

‘Trump shocked the world,’ said Matt Keelen, a Republican strategist and consultant for Trump. ‘I think [the pollsters] made up the turn out models,’ he added. 

‘The turn out models were what they wanted them to be. Everybody underestimated the Trump intensity, the Trump turnout.’

Some pollsters contacted by said Hillary Clinton’s internal polls were ‘totally wrong’ and may have played a role in the misjudgment.

The Clinton campaign ‘spent a fortune’ on the inaccurate numbers, said one polling group. 

Other long-time Washington Republican consultants concurred – saying the problem was the ‘shy Trump’ voter effect.

‘What we’ve been hearing from the [Republican National Committee] for months is there’s a distinct difference on people who get polled by a real person versus touch tone push poll,’ said Frank McCarthy, a Republican consultant with the Keelen Group, a consulting firm in Washington, DC. ‘People have been told that they have to be embarrassed to support Donald Trump, even when they’re answering a quick question in a telephone poll.’

CNN’s Jake Tapper said that Team Trump certainly has a ‘credible path’ and if the night turns out in their favor, ‘it’s gonna put the polling industry out of business.’

Tapper pointed out there may not have been even one poll that suggested Trump would have this good a night.