If you were to have gambled on the 2016 presidential election based on major polls, you’d have been a fool not to bet on Hillary Clinton. And that’s just what happened. On Election Day, the betting odds implied roughly an 80 percent chance that we’d be hearing the unholy words “President Hillary Clinton” right now.
Obviously, those odds changed quickly once the results started coming in that night.
As Hillary would ask: What happened?
Simple: The polls were flawed. A common flaw (that could have been intentional) involved over-sampling Democrat voters relative to their share of the overall population, while under-sampling Republicans. One heavily publicized poll from ABC predicted that Hillary Clinton was ahead by an incredible 12 points in the polls. That sounded shocking, until you read the fine print and realized that they over-sampled Democrats by nine percentage points relative to their share of the U.S. population. Perhaps their goal was to try to convince potential Trump voters that their vote wouldn’t count anyway, so they might as well stay home.
Clearly that strategy didn’t work.
The trickery continues today, this time as Trump’s approval ratings are measured and reported. While we constantly hear about Trump’s low approval ratings, it certainly seems odd that Democrats are losing everywhere except in the polls. And that’s because the polls measuring Trump’s approval today are more slanted than many of the polls used during the 2016 election.
The Washington Examiner reports: “Most of the top political polls that got the 2016 presidential race dead wrong are continuing to use a flawed methodology in rating President Trump’s approval ratings that favors Democrats, women and younger voters, according to a new analysis. The report shows that the mainstream polls oversample an average of 29 percent more Democrats than Republicans and the results skew anti-Trump. The result is that it robs Trump of about 8 points in his approval ratings, from 46 percent to 38 percent, it said.”
In every single poll listed above, Democrats sampled outnumbered Republicans. The most egregious case of bias came from The Economist, in which 58 percent more Democrats than Republicans were polled.
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Overall, only 24 percent of those sampled in the major polls (on average) are Republicans, while 37 percent are Democrats. Meanwhile, according to Gallup, 26 percent of American voters are registered Republican, while 29 percent are registered Democrats. In other words, only 3 percentage points more Democrats should be sampled in these polls, while in actuality there’s a gap of 13 points.
Is there any other explanation than that pollsters are trying to skew the results? Either that, or they’re not as good at polling as we’ve been led to believe.
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