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In Defence Of My Craft: 2016 U.S. Election Polling Did Not Fail

November 14, 2016

Given all the debate and discussion about the performance of the polls in the U.S. Election, I couldn’t help but respond and give my thoughts on what happened.

My team at Abacus takes what we do seriously.  I admit that survey research is not perfect.  But let’s not forget its value when done correctly and with its limitations in mind.

I published this piece on The Huffington Post today.  A sample of it is available below.

Welcome your thoughts!

David Coletto
CEO, Abacus Data

In Defence Of My Craft: 2016 U.S. Election Polling Did Not Fail

Late into Tuesday evening, Jake Tapper of CNN said that if Trump wins the election, “it’s going to put the polling industry out of business.” Well, Trump won the election, and not surprisingly, many have said my industry is in crisis. That’s understandable. A Clinton victory seem like a sure thing.

But was it? In my opinion, the polls were right. The interpretation of them was wrong.

Polls released over the final weekend and into Monday suggested that Hillary Clinton was leading nationally by three to four points over Donald Trump. And all of the election prediction sites said that she was the favourite to win with probabilities ranging from 71 per cent from Nate Silver’s fivethirtyeight.com to 85 per cent from the New York Times Upshot to 87 per cent from Dailykos to 98 per cent from Huffington Post Pollster. But there are important differences in what each of these models were saying.

Keep reading…

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