Here at TFPP, we reported about how the polls were rigged, and one of the tactics used to do so, called “oversampling,” was heavily utilized to manipulate the data. After the pollsters were humiliated following Donald Trump’s historic win, Reuters has come forward and admitted the failure.
Reuters reported that “the models almost universally miscalculated how turnout was distributed among different demographic groups.” As we reported, the polls would oversample certain groups — such as Democrats or minority groups — to skew the results. Reuters reported, courtesy of Zero Hedge:
And that’s what happened Tuesday: The election models calculated the probabilities of a Clinton win that turned out to be high, because they viewed each state too much in isolation.
The Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project projected Clinton to win the popular vote 45 percent to 42 percent, and gave her a 90 percent probability of winning the 270 electoral votes needed to secure the election. In the end, Clinton won the popular vote by 47.7 percent to 47.5 percent, by the latest count, and Trump could win the Electoral College by as many as 303 votes to Clinton’s 233 when the tally is final.
The problem, said Cliff Young, president of Ipsos Public Affairs US, the polling partner of Reuters, came down to the models the pollsters used to predict who would vote – the so-called likely voters.
The models almost universally miscalculated how turnout was distributed among different demographic groups, Young said. And turnout was lower than expected, a result that generally favors Republican candidates.
Ultimately, missing that shift in the state polls tripped up the predictions. It also highlights how the otherwise empirical process of polling rests on a subjective foundation.
Each pollster must make a decision about turnout. Their decisions are informed by historical voting patterns.But the actual turnout in each state is unknowable before election day.
The next way the pollsters failed to accurately predict the election centers around the popular vote and the Electoral College. Instead of focusing on likely voters in swing states, pollsters overemphasized the national popular vote. Reuters reported:
Beyond the calculations of the candidates’ odds of winning the Electoral College, there was a near constant stream so-called “horse race polls,” or tracker polls, that focused on the distribution of the national vote between the major candidates.
Here, too, pollsters — and the media that co-sponsored or covered the polls — stumbled, largely because the popular vote metric itself is of limited utility and cannot, of itself, predict the outcome of the Electoral College.
As of Wednesday morning, Clinton led the popular vote by slightly less than 1 percentage point. The McClatchy-Marist poll released on Nov. 3, for example, had Clinton up by one point – one of the most accurate calls of the popular vote. But even that headline number missed the point a bit, because she lost the election in the Electoral College.
A few polls correctly pegged Trump as the winner. The International Business Times/TIPP poll had Trump leading on Nov. 7. That poll put him ahead in the popular vote by two percentage points, which in the end overstated his share by about three points.
Young said both pollsters and journalist described the results of the national polls and predictions with a false precision by presenting the result as near absolutes.
“The forecasting models, which assign probabilities or chances to candidates, are no better than the polls themselves,” he said. “If the polls are off, the forecasting models will be off, too.”
Normally I argue that the polls are useless for the voters and simply used by the media to manipulate the narrative, but in this election, the polls actually served to show how the media elites are completely out of touch with America.
Trump’s wins in the rust belt aren’t surprising to many people familiar with the area, the people, and Trump’s message — not the one the media distorts. Even uber-liberal Michael Moore predicted Trump’s wins in Pennyslvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, yet the media largely laughed off the possibility because they don’t get it.
The media doesn’t understand Trump or the American people, and their failed polls reflect that.