President-Elect Trump: How did the pundits get it so wrong?

2016 election: How did pundits get it wrong?

BOISE - There are tears and sadness in some places, cheers and chants in others.

"Everyone was shocked," said Kuna resident Aaron Hynes.

"Today he's president?" said Boise resident Ahniahselene Summers. "I can't believe it."

It's an outcome that political analysts from both parties never predicted.

"Well it certainly is a little bit surprising," said Jeff Lyons, a Political Science professor at Boise State University.

But how did they get it so wrong?

"Donald Trump appears to have been sort of undersold by three to four points in the polls, and that's kind of the puzzle of what's going on there," said Lyons.

For now, Lyons says there are two theories.

"One is that election pollings are difficult because what we're trying to do is to not just ask people questions about what they would do, but then also try and figure out if they're going to show up and vote," said Lyons.

The second theory: People were not genuinely or honestly answering pollsters.  

"Either they changed their minds and they voted for Donald Trump or they were Trump voters all along who just weren't comfortable saying they were Trump voters and that's also possible," said Lyons.

Another aspect analysts didn't see coming: high voter turnout in rural areas. 

"It looks like we had lower minority turnout than we had in 2008 and 2012 and sort of higher turnout amongst sort of rural white voters in the upper Midwest," said Lyons. "It really was those upper Midwestern states where the polling was wrong."

States like Michigan and Iowa, which are historically blue states. 

"I didn't start to think that something was really going to be different than we expected until I saw Wisconsin."

Then there's the leaked "Access Hollywood" tape where Trump made lewd comments about women. Some say any other candidate couldn't have survived that - especially during a general election. 

"In a lot of ways that doesn't fit our norm in American politics," said Lyons.

Despite seeing polls move in response to the tapes, tweets and debates, he still brought in votes. The reason?

"People are going to support their candidate and it means they're not as likely to jump ship and vote for another candidate," said Lyons.

Lyons also says that the surprise isn't as much as Trump winning, it's that the won by winning states that had been reliably democratic for a long time. A state like Michigan, for example, where Hillary Clinton didn't spend much of her time campaigning. 

Copyright 2016 KTVB


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment