The Student Blog Post series invites students from my PLS 321: Electoral Process course to author their own blogs about recent election events.
An article titled How the polls got it wrong in the Economist shed some light on the polls that were conducted during this election cycle and proposed reasons for why the polls were so far off this year. One of the main reasons behind errors with these types of polls is that Every survey result is made up of a combination of two variables: the demographic composition of the electorate, and how each group is expected to vote. (D.R.) This fails to account for an unrepresentative sample, too small of a sample size, and having bias when inputting how some groups are expected to vote. This year, the biggest thing people failed to account for was the silent voter group, or what some people are calling the shy Trump (D.R.) phenomenon this year. What this means is that many of those who voted or were planning on voting for Trump did not want to openly admit to doing so for a variety of reasons (being labeled a racist, harassment, fear). It is this group of voters that ended up heavily contradicting the polls that had Hillary Clinton as the front runner by several points in states that she either lost or that ended much closer than expected.
As discussed in class, this group of voters ended up being a significant factor in the outcome of the election, but these polls could have added a false sense of security for many people who were disillusioned by the nominees and were on the fence about voting in general. These polls predicted Hillary Clinton would win historically blue states, such as Michigan, that would ultimately secure her the presidency, as we know now, this was not the final result. In my opinion, these overly confident/biased polls significantly affected voter turnout by creating an overly optimistic atmosphere around Hillary Clintons campaign, causing many to assume she had this race in the bag. The 2016 polls portrayed a biased view of voters in the United States and may have failed to accurately represent shy Trump voters who were angry with the system and wanted change.
Ivan Sanchez is a transfer student at Cal Poly Pomona, currently working on his third year. He is a political science major, undecided on a minor, but possibly wants to pursue a law degree (immigration) in the future. In his free time, he likes to start political arguments with strangers, play the keyboard, go out with friends, and binge watch shows on Netflix.