Why polling was so off in this election

Polling problems

BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The morning after the election, the morning news shows brought in their analysts to try and figure out how the polls got the race for president so wrong.  In Florida, for example,  an October 27th poll had Clinton up by four points over Trump.  He actually beat  Clinton with 49 percent of the vote to her 48 percent.   And even here in Maine, there was grumbling among republicans about the most recent  poll in the second Congressional District race between Bruce Poliquin and Emily Cain that was done between October 20-25.  It had Cain ahead of  Poliquin 43 percent to 42 percent with 11 percent undecided and 4 percent choosing another candidate.  Poliquin won the race by a  margin of 55 percent to 45 percent.

"We told the press repeatedly that it didn't match our internal polling numbers. we were never behind in our internal polling numbers. it was never that close,"  Brent Littlfield, a consultant for Congressman Bruce Poliquin complained, shortly after the results came in showing Poliquin had a comfortable victory  

UMaine Political Science Professor, Dr. Amy Fried has written a book about the 1948 election where she says every Public Polling firm picked Thomas Dewey to win the presidency over Harry Truman.
 
"One of the problems consistently you have with election polls is you're not just asking people what do you think, can you write the numbers down, you're asking them what will they do, and people can think something and not necessarily do something about it," she said.
 
 Dr. Fried says the Trump Campaign itself indicated that some of his supporters may not have wanted to tell a pollster who they would be supporting which could explain the discrepancies between the polls and the final  vote but she says, it could have come down to people just not wanting to get polled.
 
 "It's hard sometimes to reach people.  people used to respond to pollsters at much higher rates than they do now, and that is been a concern with the polling industry, that we have a low response rate," she said.
 
Polls are snapshots in time and so Fried added that sometimes events happen that change peoples minds.
She personally feels that polls may be useful for political campaigns but don't offer much to the general public besides entertainment.
 

 

Copyright 2016 WLBZ


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