All the second guessers are asking how so many polls got it so wrong. The political class doesn’t want to hear it, but the answer is fairly simple. First most of the pollsters are using methodologies that are fraudulent.
The most common is some form of quota sampling. Within Federal agencies and many state agencies, this method is prohibited for any data collection that may influence public policy. How do I know this? — because I helped write the regulation that enforced the prohibition. Why is it prohibited? — 1) it lacks the attributes that give scientific sampling credibility and 2) it is vulnerable to gross manipulation.
If you examine the theory that supports things like estimating error in estimates from a sample, you will find that these quasi-random sampling methods do not satisfy the necessary conditions for estimating an unbiased mean or a valid sampling variance. The attributes of scientific sampling that put bounds on the error in a estimate are not present in quota sampling. So those claims that the error in the result is say plus or minus 3 percent (with 95 percent confidence) are false — that calculation is only valid with rigorous sampling methods.
Empirical studies have shown that the error in common forms of quasi-random sampling is often 2-3 times larger — and it is not symmetric (e.g. plus or minus 9 percent) — it is usually dominated by bias rather than sampling variance and so departs from the actual mean in one direction.
One tell-tale that these unreliable methods are in play is the need for demographic or party affiliation or gender “weighting.” In a pure “random sample” that is large enough (and by this I also mean stratified, clustered, and other complex designs), various subgroups in the target population are automatically represented in roughly the correct proportions — no need for post-stratification, imputation, or other band-aids for shortcomings of the sampling process.
So these polls that “oversample” or have a higher weight for democrats display nothing more than a bias injected by the designer.
The bias has been so embarrassing that even the media hacks often fall back on the Real Clear Politics average of poll results. Do you know what you get when you average a bunch of polls biased in the same direction (?) — you get a biased average that looks less biased than the most ridiculous results. (What the averaging process is trying to do ONLY works when the polls contain some even mix of biases in opposite directions).
The other major problem that generates error in opinion polls is the accuracy of the opinion measure. This is due to the respondent’s internal metric on his or her opinion, and may extend to lying to the pollster by those who distrust the interviewer or the process. Two people who objectively have nearly identical opinions may describe those opinions differently or even lie about them.
There were three polls that got it right in the 2016 election cycle —
The LA Times Daily Poll (a rotating panel) that used a 100 point scale to rationalize each respondent’s opinion permitting a more uniform measure and a way of subtly including changes over time. This poll said Trump wins by about 5 points.
The Investors Business Daily poll emphasized rigorous sampling methods and some proprietary internal models. They had Trump ahead by 2 percent.
The third set of polls were by a man named Cahaly of Trafalgar Group. This organization focused on battleground states and got most of them right (for Trump) except for Michigan where the difference was a fraction of one percent. Cahaly used a question about the views of neighbors to flag respondents that might be hedging their own preference. (This is a proven method used in sensitive surveys.)
An academic acquaintance of mine suggested that these polls probably had a small sample bias in favor of Trump and thus overestimated his popular vote. Possible, but there is a much simpler explanation.
Some of the things these polls cannot measure are —
1) the number of dead people voting; 2) the number of duplicate absentees voting; and 3) the number of illegal aliens voting. (Not to mention the Soros voting machines in 15 states and the widespread use of “fractional” counting procedures in voting machine software — vote counts should be integers — why convert to decimals?)
The Census Bureau learned long ago that illegals will not report in the Census in spite of penalties imposed by law. And neither the LA Times nor IBD have found a way to reach the fake dead voters and fake absentees by phone.
So if we could define a rigorous sampling estimate, we could get a handle on the rough magnitude of net Democrat voter fraud. Don’t laugh — the Census Bureau conducts a large expensive sample survey called the Post-Enumeration Survey to get a handle on the level of error in the complete enumeration every ten years.
So why were the polls so far off —
They were deliberately biased to 1) shape rather than measure public opinion; and 2) to provide cover for the magnitude of voter fraud.
Let’s see — using the smaller IBD number, 2% + Hillary’s margin of 0.3 percent of real votes suggests about 2.7 million fraudulent votes were generated by Soros and the democrats — no longer insignificant. Some of the most biased polls and blatant fraud were here in Virginia. Come to think of it, was Gore’s popular vote “advantage” in 2000 real or fraudulent? This “factoid” stirred Soros-funded street gangs for a decade or more.
Draining this particular swamp should be a priority in the new administration. There is adequate precedent in the voting rights laws that put many southern states under Justice Department supervision for their history of voting rights violations. Let’s put states that support “sanctuary” cities and won’t use voter ID under the microscope until they clean up their act.
One reason why the media and Democratic Party are so collusive is because the same particular ethnic group of white liberals that owns and operates the so-called “mainstream” media, also are the biggest donors to the Democratic Party. Is it a conspiracy? What do you think?
The term that first came to my mind was, “Voter Suppression”. If they yell it loudly enough every day that there’s no hope, they expect us to lose confidence and decide that there’s no way our guy can win, and skip election day. Fortunately, enough of us have seen this show MANY times before, so we came out in droves. I also find it interesting that Hillary has not challenged for recounts ONE SINGLE STATE where the vote was very close in Trump’s favor. Could it be, they’d find the fraud in a recount?
I got a kick out of all the people that screaming about the polls, and rest of us were smiling because all the while we knew Trump would win. “Polls matter”. LMAO.
I’m highly suspect of polls. I have no idea what a “voice” is actually punching in when they ask me to rate something on a scale of “1 to 5”. I also know that I have randomly given weird answers to organizations to skew their data sampling. MoveOn.org called me once – On that poll I said I was Hispanic Democrat male, age 25-40, that supported the Tea Party and Rob Wittman.
That 1 to 5 business is called a Likert scale — another variation is something like “strongly disapprove”, “disapprove”, “don’t care”, “approve”, “strongly approve”. Some pollsters like to pretend that the numbers mean something mathematical, but the ratings don’t behave that way. All you can generally rely on is that 1 is less than 2 etc. This is called an ordinal scale — you can’t assume that the interval between a rating of 1 and 2 is the same as the interval between 3 and 4. So the laws of arithmetic don’t apply, but they will still try to get averages! My favorite fake identity is a black portuguese-speaking soccer player (think Pele).
You make some excellent points Dr. Coffey. In addition, from the very beginning these polling operations ran into headwinds due to:
1. Oversampling of Democrats (some adjusted for it but some did not)
2. Significant political donations made to HRC from many of these pollsters (Survey Monkey and Reuters/Ipsos being the most egregious) which, at the very least, undermines their credibility.
3. Limited samples. If you really look – some of these samples were incredibly small.
Just my two cents.
I’m less interested in why the polls got it wrong and more interested in the MSM and how screwed up they are.
I swear at this point it’s almost like you need an “Angie’s list” for journalists so you can have ratings about which ones you can trust and which ones are off the *&^%ing rails biased. Wouldn’t it be great to have a news site that allowed you to sort your news on a scale of “objective” to “propagandist”. And, sadly, most major news organizations no longer lean towards the objective end of the spectrum. I’ve never in my life seen such bias as there was in this election, and not just bias like an accidental stray in the wrong direction, but a deliberate manipulation of public perception by people who seem to be engaged in some kind of psychological warfare against people they disagree with personally and collectively.
News is supposed to be just that, news. The fourth estate. They are supposed to be shedding light on what is actually happening, reporting on reality, not attempting to manipulate perception and opinions and creating an un-reality.
The MSM was once fairly objective, and then in the past two decades it has slipped into being very biased, but this election it went all the way over into being *&^%ing creepy.
And yes, let’s name a few, here’s mine – the Washington Post. WTF are these people doing ? Isn’t this supposed to be a newspaper I can read to get objective news and reality based commentary on the world I live in ? WTF. I can’t even believe how far in the tank these *&^holes were for Clinton. I, as a reader of news, can’t even hear the name of this newspaper anymore without thinking of what a biased rag it is. These people don’t care about truth or reality, or reporting, they are just a bunch of *&^hats who missed their calling in marketing, because they are without a doubt selling a product, and that product is leftism and urban culture.
Dear Washington Post, you’re supposed to be reporting the news, and when you do give your opinion how about taking the rest of us into account and stop trying to indoctrinate us into your world view.
There must be some Internet rule against responding to your own response to your own post, but … oh well 😀
Here is another example that I think demonstrates this perfectly. This is an open letter from Salon’s managing editor which makes it unmistakably clear that she understands EXACTLY where a lot of female Trump voters are coming from. It shows a level of understand that Salon itself lacks completely. Give it a quick read.
So here’s the question, if Salon’s managing editor has such reasonable and grounded insight into the minds of a typical female Trump voter, and I don’t think she’s far off, why did Salon spend the last year talking about how Trump voters were racists, misogynists, hateful, and all this other stuff they accused them of ? I mean if the managing editor KNOWS that’s not true, yet chooses consciously to print things she knows isn’t true about them, WTF are we supposed to think about that ?
Ah yes the Washington Post. We canceled our subscription about 20 years ago when we lived in Fairfax County. They lost their integrity long before this election, but this was an all time low.
I think the polls got it wrong because the MSM leftists wanted them to be biased to make the case that Hillary was unstoppable. These errors weren’t by accident but by intentional dishonesty.
Now we see the MSM playing the mea culpa game that happens in some form or other when a republican is running against a democrat and manages to win against the media bias and outright lies. If the democrat they were pushing wins, then no mea culpa just smug self-congratulations.
I suspect you are right. One thing to remember however is many of these same pollsters called it for Romney in 2012 when his numbers rose just before the election. The LA Times and IBD were also “outliers” then — predicting correctly that Obama would win. It is possible that those who were burned by their Romney error in 2012 overcompensated in their 2016 assumptions. The problem is that these quasi-random methods generally are more influenced by the assumptions of the designers than by what is actually happening in the real world.