Pollsters at the University of Southern California who used a unique method to predict President Trump’s 2016 election victory say it looks like he is heading for reelection next week.
“When we calculate how many electoral votes each candidate could get based on state level averages of the own-intention and social-circle questions, it’s looking like an Electoral College loss for Biden,” the poll’s website says. “We should note that our poll was not designed for state-level predictions, and in some states we have very few participants. Even so, in 2016 it predicted that Trump would win the electoral vote.”
The pollsters attempt to control for “social judgements,” a term similar to the “social desirability bias” made famous by the Trafalgar Group, an outlier polling operation that continues to show Trump with leads in battleground states. Trafalgar claims its method captures the “shy Trump voter” many speculated pushed him over the top in 2016.
But USC’s pollsters said they have used similar methods for years, scoring a perfect record in elections they have attempted to predict so far.
“From our previous research on social judgements, we learned that people seem to know their immediate social circles quite well,” USC’s pollsters said. “Their answers about the distribution of income, health status — even the relationship satisfaction of their friends, family and acquaintances — were often in the right ballpark.”
“When we averaged the data from their responses across a large national sample, it provided a surprisingly accurate picture of the overall population… in all five of the elections in which we tested this question, the social circle question predicted election outcomes better than traditional questions about voters’ own intention,” the pollsters continued. “These five elections were the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, the 2017 French Presidential election, the 2018 Swedish Parliamentary election, and the 2018 U.S. election for the House of Representatives.”
USC said that the “social circle” question has led to more accurate results than traditional polling methods.
“In both the U.S. elections, the social-circle question predicted the national and state level results better than the ‘own intention’ question in the same polls,” the pollsters said. “In fact, data from the social-circle question in 2016 accurately predicted which candidate won each state, so it predicted Trump’s electoral college victory.”
While USC’s current traditional polling gives Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden a double-digit lead nationally, its “social circle” data is pointing to a Trump Electoral College victory.
“It’s possible that the traditional polls are right and the ‘social circle’ data is wrong, of course,” an analysis of the poll said, before noting that “both parties this year seem convinced that Trump will do better than his current numbers.”
The results were echoed by Trafalgar.
Trafalgar currently has Trump ahead in Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Arizona, all states where Trump lags, according to RealClearPolitics’s polling average. Trafalgar also shows Trump trailing Biden by less than 1 point in Wisconsin despite RealClearPolitics showing Trump down by 6.4 points in the state.
Earlier this month, Fox News joined the list of those attempting to account for the “shy Trump voter,” asking respondents in a national poll who they thought their neighbor was voting for. That poll had Trump ahead 49%-38%.
Author: Michael Lee
Source: Washington Examiner: Poll that correctly predicted Trump’s upset in 2016 predicts another victory