Polling Society blindsided by election results

by Celia Carbone / Beacon Correspondent • November 10, 2016

Disingenuous voter response to pollsters and last-minute apathetic voter turnout defied Emerson College Polling Society’s prediction for the 2016 presidential election.

ECPS predicted a landslide victory of 323 electoral votes to 215 for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, according to their Nov. 7 press release. President-elect Donald Trump won the electoral vote 279 to 228, according to the Associated Press.

ECPS polls projected Clinton would win 8 of the 11 swing states. On election night, Trump took home electoral votes from four of those swing states, including Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

“As a pollster, no matter where you are—whether you are at Emerson or a major news network—you are only interested in likely voters,” Nikolas Emack-Bazelais, a junior political communication major and member of ECPS, said. “What we saw last night is a lot of people who said they weren’t voting, or who weren’t likely to vote, had a change of heart and wound up at the polls.”

Spencer Kimball, ECPS advisor and senior scholar-in-residence, said Trump tapped into the blue collar Democrat vote.

Prior to the election, ECPS results were criticized and assumed to be outliers because its results were not in line with other major pollsters for the first few days after the press release. ECPS received online backlash from outlets like The Washington Post and U.S. News and World Report.