The polls blew it. [AGAIN-- Editor.]
U.S. survey companies and media organizations that collectively presaged a close Hillary Clinton victory now face an autopsy on how they got it so wrong after a year suffused by polls, aggregates of polls and even real-time projections of the vote on Election Day.
While the predictions gave some observers a soothing sense of certainty, actual voters still possessed the capacity to shock. Donald Trump’s commanding performance defied the final surveys of the American electorate, which broadly predicted a Clinton win of 2 to 4 percentage points.
“It’s harder and harder to poll today, to get a sample that looks like the electorate,” said Karlyn Bowman, a public opinion analyst at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. “We’ve seen epic fails.”
Tuesday’s results were just the latest high-profile predictive failure around the world, following on the heels of misleading surveys on the Colombia peace deal referendum this year and Greece’s bailout referendum in 2015. Surveys were rendered inaccurate by new forms of technology and communication and political questions unlike any seen in recent history. The inaccuracy called into question a basic gauge of sentiment used by politicians, citizens and financiers.
“The anger is stronger than any of us really expected," said Megan Greene, chief economist at Manulife Asset Management in Boston, which handles money for institutional investors such as pensions and foundations.
The grandfather of U.S. opinion polling, Washington-based Gallup Inc., has pulled back. Four years ago, Gallup endured its third polling defeat in four cycles and walked away from presidential horse-race polling altogether.