Sáez says polling must and will evolve as a result of US election failings

Donald Trump is set to take ownership of the keys to the White House on Friday 20 January 2017.

A week before the US election, the Study at SOAS team sat down with Professor Lawrence Sáez to hear his predictions on the outcome.

Now the votes have been counted and Donald Trump is set to take ownership of the keys to the White House on Friday 20 January 2017, in doing so becoming the country’s 45th President. It was an outcome that few predicted. Nate Silver, one of the country’s most successful psephologists (having correctly predicted 49 out of the 50 states in the 2008 US election) placed Clinton at 71/72% favourite to win. Other established polls were far less conservative in their predictions; it was not uncommon to see projections of a Clinton victory in the 90-100% region.

To be fair, two polls did get it right – IBD/TIPP and USC/Los Angeles Times Daybreak poll. But clearly there is an issue in this branch of political science.

Here’s what Lawrence had to say:

A week ahead of the US election you predicted an emphatic victory for Hillary Clinton. What happened?

The established polling companies have got the US election wrong. We’ve seen similar issues around recent UK general elections and the referendum. Is psephology in big trouble?

Was there anything specific that hurt the Clinton campaign in the days leading up to the result?

Clinton actually won the popular vote but secured fewer Electoral College votes than Trump – can you explain this system for us?

How will US foreign policy change with Trump in the White House, specifically in relation to the Middle East and Asia?


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