5 Reasons Why The Pollsters Failed

5 Reasons Why The Pollsters Failed

Some observations on the election results, in no particular order:

Pollsters – 1. The asymmetry of the Double Negatives.

One reason polling may have been misleading, or at least misled many of us in the psephology racket, is that this is the first presidential election since random sample polling began in 1935 in which most voters had negative feelings toward both major party candidates.

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Pollsters

By Krassotkin (derivative), Gage Skidmore (Donald Trump), Gage Skidmore (Hillary Clinton) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Election analysts have had experience dealing with elections in which majorities have positive feelings about both nominees; that has usually been the case in contests which turn out to have been seriously contested. “Double positives,” people with positive feelings about both candidates, will usually split along partisan or perhaps ethnic lines, and ordinarily pretty evenly.

The Clinton campaign put more ads on the air in the Omaha market than in Michigan and Wisconsin combined.

But what about “double negatives”? The default assumption most of us have had, I suspect, is that they would split roughly evenly between the candidates. But that didn’t happen this year. According to the exit poll (current figures, which may be slightly revised), 18 percent of voters were “double neg