Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The best polls indicate a small gap between Trump and Hillary

All the forces that hate Trump--the Dems, the Media, and the NeverTrumpers--are all chanting the phrase that Trump is toast, but the polls have seemed a little off to me for a long time. Audacious has addressed this kind of thing before. The Clinton lead seems to be larger in registered voter polls than likely voter polls, and the gap seems to be smaller with online polls. The first suggests more enthusiasm among registered voters for Trump, and the second suggests that some people might hide their preference for Trump from telephone interviewers.

I created a list of polling companies that were not off by more than an average of 1.5 points in the 2012 election that have also conducted polls in the last two weeks. I predict that the nationwide candidate gap will be largest for telephone surveys of registered voters, and smallest for online surveys of likely voters.

Three polls are live interviews of registered voters--IBD, CNN, and Marist. The mean is a lead of 10.3 points for Hillary.

One poll is an online poll of registered voters--YouGov. It gives Clinton a 7 point lead.

Reuters/Ipsos is the only online poll of likely voters that made my list.  Now Audacious and others have rightly criticized this survey, but I'm assuming they've gotten things straightened out over there. They give Hillary a 4 point lead.

Long story short, Hillary definitely seems to be ahead, but the best methodology produces a small gap between the two candidates, not a large one. And keep in mind that most media polls are of registered voters interviewed by telephone, so the gap is repeatedly exaggerated in the news.

UPDATE:  I checked Reuters latest poll, and it looks like their sample is 44% Democrats and 34% Republicans. That sounds biased to Republicans, but these kinds of numbers are used by polling companies that have been accurate in the past. Evidently, a big chunk of the country has screwy political views, and it's an uphill battle for us to win on the national level.  

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