Monday, August 22, 2016

"Trump Leads Clinton by 5+ Points in the Key Battleground State of Pennsylvania"

UPDATE: CBS removes report about Trump's lead in Pennsylvania.
If this had been accurate, it would be a major shock - a magical 15-point turnaround in two weeks. In the most recent Pennsylvania polls, Hillary has consistently held either a 10 or 11 point lead. I'm not sure that kind of turnaround is even possible.

The film that did the polling is not even a professional polling group, but a consulting firm which does not disclose which client paid for the poll, and their summary makes statements like "One of the reasons of Trump's surge is attributable to increasing support from the women." (This sentence not only presents a highly unlikely claim, but seems to have been written by someone in third grade. Some of the site's paragraphs are out-and-out illiterate, with subject/verb agreement like "The questions was ..." )

Here we go. As I thought, the whole thing is bogus. They contacted 1000 random owners of landlines and had them respond to a robocall (in English only) by pressing a number to answer each question. And even then they claim a massive 7.1% margin of error. I don't know about you, but I know only one person who still has a landline, and I'm an old coot. About half of Americans own no landline, and there is one cellphone per person in America (and that denominator includes newborns, pre-schoolers, and the institutionalized.)

They balanced the responses to the population by gender only, which pretty much assures that they have excluded the proper proportion of young voters (who may not even know what a landline is). By ignoring a Spanish option, they excluded many Latinos. And their own little wheel graph shows that minority voters only represented maybe 2% of the sample (it's "maybe" because they don't present the raw data to support the graph). So, I think we can say that Trump has a five point lead, give or take seven, among grouchy old white people with landlines. Hell, I'm surprised it's not higher.


  1. are the leading place for stats. They rate political pollsters. This cepex place isn't even on their list, and they rate dozens. This can be ignored. 538's Pennsylvania poll aggregate has her in a slim lead, but still in the lead. Overall, he's still taking it in the shorts. Minimum 5-6 points behind national, usually around 8-10 points behind.

  2. Actually the robo call polling is surprisingly accurate. Same thing with landlines. As long as the aligirism is achieved the polling is accurate. Beside Pennsylvania has never been a swing state. It has gone democrat for as long as California has. The fact Hillary has spent so much time there lately in indicative of her internals not looking good. This whole election may come down to unlikely swings like New Mexico and Michigan going Trump. Virginia is in play. New Hampshire could go back R and it's not beyond New Jersey or Wisconsin to screw the standard and turn Trump. He really has more possibility to do this than anyone in recent memory.

  3. The fact that the page no longer exist does not speak too highly for its accuracy.

  4. That link was to a CBS affiliate. I suppose they realized they had been conned.

  5. Famous case study in selection bias - in 1936 some magazine did a very well thought-out phone poll and determined Alf Landon was a mortal lock for president. They ran with the story, announced it as a done deal and the science as impeccable. Then FDR was elected in a landslide by a bunch of people with no phone.
    I don't care much about the aligirism, I just think we're all big losers cos we have to look at these two ugly fuckers for a couple more months, then one of them for 4 years after that.

  6. Will's comment borders on delusional. "unlikely swings like New Mexico and Michigan going Trump. Virginia is in play"

    You realize New Mexico has the highest percentage Latino population in the country and a State Constitutition written in both English and Spanish?
    Trump will be lucky if he gets 40% in New Mexico. Pennsylvania could be lost by Hilary, but she will still take all of the 2012 states that went Democratic and probably take Georgia and Utah.
    President Obama won 332 electoral votes. Move 20 from PA over, and the Democrat still wins by 312-226

  7. For Nature Mom, it was Literary Digest,
    From The Experts Speak, 1984
    That's the first page of the article as published in the Literary Digest.

    The book "How to Lie with Statistics" detailed the obvious flaws of this 'survey.'