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Tony Grist

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Historical Footnotes [Nov. 10th, 2016|09:08 am]
Tony Grist
1. Just a side issue, really but the pollsters called it wrong on Brexit and now they've called it wrong on the US elections. That's a pretty impressive record of failure.

2. Ailz tells me The Scotsman led with the story, "Aberdeen Business Owner Wins Presidential Election."
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: dadi
2016-11-10 11:20 am (UTC)
That is apparently a thing with elections where populists are running in a prominent position or with a high visibility concern. Italy at Berlusconi time was the same.. the polls always said no way he'd win and then he did. People vote populist in the secrecy of the voting cabin, they often are afraid/ashamed to own up to it when asked by, even anonymous, interviewers.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-11-10 04:19 pm (UTC)
The pollsters either need to factor in the "I'm ashamed to be voting for this guy" factor or else shut up shop.

Especially since populism seems to the order of the day. After Brexit and Trump I'm fully expecting Le Pen to win in France...
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[User Picture]From: xiphias
2016-11-11 01:40 pm (UTC)
Nate Silver fudged that in and came up with a 1/3 chance that Trump would win, and 2/3 that Clinton would. Everybody else mocked him for it.
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[User Picture]From: heleninwales
2016-11-10 11:35 am (UTC)
I don't know what precise result the polls were predicting, but I think that right before the election they were saying it would be close but that Hillary would win. In fact, she did gain more votes than Trump and if it had been simply on raw vote numbers, she would have won. However, there's this complicated electoral college things which just gave Trump the edge. Rather like our system can put a party in power with a minority of the votes cast.

If the figures a friend was quoting on Facebook were correct, it worked out that roughly 50% of Americans didn't vote. Just under 25% voted for Trump, just under 25% for Hillary and the odd couple of percent went to the third party candidates. So in this case, the polls possibly weren't all that wrong it's just difficult to be exact when things are so close. The same actually applies to Brexit.
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[User Picture]From: kamomil
2016-11-10 12:16 pm (UTC)
I was hoping that if more people spoiled their ballot, than voted for a candidate, that they could start over with better candidates.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-11-10 04:22 pm (UTC)
Yes it was close- but it's in close elections that the work of pollsters comes into its own- and if they can't get it right there's no point. On the other hand If everybody knows there's going to be a landslide who needs a pollster?
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[User Picture]From: heleninwales
2016-11-10 05:52 pm (UTC)
This is true! Though it all comes down to sampling, degrees of accuracy and statistics. So really the only message you should take from a close poll is that it's close and could go either way!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-11-10 07:06 pm (UTC)
Exactly.

By the time the campaign ended I had a gut feeling that Trump was going to win. Turns out my gut was more reliable that the pollsters.
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[User Picture]From: kamomil
2016-11-10 12:15 pm (UTC)
I think that they must have called people who still have land lines and are at home during the day - retired people.

I read a cracked.com article about how rural poor people likely voted for Trump, they are not likely to have a land line.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-11-10 04:26 pm (UTC)
The rural poor don't have landlines? Over here I think it's more likely they're the ones who still do.

My mother for instance- rural, elderly though not poor- has never had a mobile.
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[User Picture]From: howlin_wolf_66
2016-11-10 02:44 pm (UTC)
1. I don't understand the use of polls, anymore; if people are going to lie, obfuscate or fluctuate for their own reasons (some valid) then they are meaningless...

2. Haha! I'm glad The Scotsman was able to restore some parochial pride. :-)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-11-10 04:28 pm (UTC)
People have wised up- and realised they don't have to defer to the nicely-spoken young people who ring them up to ask them their opinions.
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[User Picture]From: howlin_wolf_66
2016-11-10 04:36 pm (UTC)
Not deferring is fine - but can they at least SAY they're not going to answer, instead of outright lying? That's the kind of resolution I'd be looking for.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-11-10 07:07 pm (UTC)
Ah, but human nature doesn't work like that...
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[User Picture]From: howlin_wolf_66
2016-11-10 09:38 pm (UTC)
Then scrap the polls! They're meaningless, and serve no purpose unless people are honest.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-11-11 10:26 am (UTC)
Exactly.
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[User Picture]From: ccord
2016-11-10 09:35 pm (UTC)
If it's of any help, they also completely misjudged the outcomes of the last two Canadian federal elections. So there is some consistency...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-11-11 10:24 am (UTC)
Time for them to pack up shop and find some other kind of snake oil to sell.
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