Polling Reality: 2016

Boy people do not understand polls. Recently I have been told by article after article and comment after comment that Donald Trump is rising and this election is tightening. It is true that this election is tightening but not because of Donald Trump but rather because Hillary Clinton.

@TheBurkeSociety @_Credible_HUlk

The Tr

Based on both the Huffington Post (HuffPo) pollsters average and the Real Clear Politics (RCP) polling average the tightening race is due to a fall in Hillary’s poll numbers. In both averages she has fallen to and below the ceiling of Donald Trump (roughly 43% to 44%). Both averages show other common features. While both show him peaking in 2015 and at around the same level HuffPo puts the peak in August while RCP puts it in December. Both also show Hillary peaking in March. Trump continues to be stuck in the upper 30s to low 40s. It is Hillary who is making this a close race.
This is why Donald Trump will lose. He has a ceiling and while Hillary also does it is well above Trumps. Of course I will have someone certainly say all of this should be dismissed because the polls were wrong in Brexit, the primaries or they are just plane biased. Again, reality differs. In Brexist the polls were close. The averages showed a race that was tied with about 10% undecided (see here, here and here). They were not wrong, they were right. Both poll averages had Trump winning the primary since July. We also know that these polls are accurate. Based off years of polling we know which are accurate and which are not. They cannot be dismissed just because you do not like them.
What about the states? We decide Presidential elections based off state elections not national elections. Let us look at those. In Virginia and Michigan he is losing by 5 five points. He has never won a head to head in Virginia and only one in Michigan (which was last year). He is losing both New Hampshire and Pennsylvania by about 3 points. In Pennsylvania he has only won a single head to head this year while he has never won one in New Hampshire. In North Carolina and Ohio he is losing by two and in Florida it is effectively tied at .6. All these figures are based off RCP polls when I wrote this on 7/19/2016.

Even by giving Donald Trump every state where he is within two points and Iowa he still loses by 3 electors.

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If we give her everywhere she wins, it becomes a blowout.

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Update on 8/3/2016- In light of the Republican convention bump it seemed that Donald Trump smashed through his poling ceiling on RealClearPolitics (but not on HuffPo). While he did he also immediately crashed back below it. Because of the crash I would still maintain that my thesis of his ceiling holds.

2 thoughts on “Polling Reality: 2016

  1. Aren’t the numbers of the candidate supposed to rise after their acceptance speech? Hillary clearly didn’t get that same response.


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