- - Wednesday, November 9, 2016


While many polls gave Hillary Clinton favorable predictions prior to election day, there were polls available that pointed to yesterday’s result.

I averaged the difference between the margin of error and the leader’s percentage in polls from six battleground states: Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. All polls presented Donald Trump, Mrs. Clinton and at least third-party challengers Jill Stein or Gary Johnson. The polls were generally conducted from the last week of October through Nov. 8 and published online.

Half of the averages were correct in predicting the winner of that state. Florida polls gave Mr. Trump an average 1-percent lead, and he won. Mr. Trump had a 2-percent average lead in Ohio polls, and he won. He had an average 2.5-percent lead in North Carolina polls and won. Pennsylvania was essentially a tie, and Wisconsin and Michigan both gave Mrs. Clinton an average lead of around 2 percent. Three of these averages were correct, two were wrong and the tie was close. Four out of these six averages were at least close predictions.

Political strategists should heed state-wide polls with more than two candidates. This election showed that such polls can predict how a state will vote. In the next election, strategists should focus on the most accurate polls available.



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