When Polls Become Idols

Donald J. Trump's victory was described as an upset in many news outlets on November 9, 2016.  It was an "upset" only because of the almost uniformly failed prognostications about the results from "scientific pollsters," from Nate Silver to Quinnipiac to CNN and numerous others. What went wrong? The news networks and the pollsters will try to answer this question by looking at the demographics of polling, and how there were so many unanticipated "last-minute" shifts among Jews, blacks, women, educated, uneducated, Hispanics, etc.  This type of analysis tends to shift the blame from the pollsters to the "unpredictable voter."  The voter is thus portrayed as behaving in a surprising, even erratic way that caused the pundits to err. Is this model of explanation valid? In order to answer our question, it is not necessary to review the details of polling methodology.  Rather, we can answer our question by going...(Read Full Article)

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