October 3, 2016

Poll shifts after "events" are illusory

After last week's debate that the media and the elites declared a resounding victory for Clinton, several bogus polls were released purporting to show a little bump for her. How can we tell about specific polls being bogus, and what larger lessons can be drawn from polling after supposedly big "events" like a debate, gaffe, leaked documents, etc.?

PPP put out a poll where 2% said they were voting for Evan McMullin, the fake "true conservative" candidate whose campaign exists only so that the failed cuckservative consultants who were supporting Rubio etc. can still rake in some donor money this season, and delay having to get real jobs for another six months. This nobody polls below 1% -- which is what PPP says is Jill Stein's support level, when in reality it is more like 2-3%.

In other words, it over-sampled cuckservative Republicans to cut down Trump's numbers, and under-sampled progressive Democrats to boost Clinton's numbers.

Fox News put out a poll where only 18% are Independents, and the wording did not group Democrat with "Democrat leaning Indies" and Republican with "Republican leaning Indies," which is the only way to get that low a share of Independents. Since Trump wins Indies in every poll, this one under-sampled a key support group of his.

Reuters did a little better, as they should given their superior track record from the 2012 general election. Their daily poll shows Trump improving after the debate, not a bump for Hillary like the other two. After the debate, Clinton leads by 3-4 points (4-way vs. heads-up), about what the Fox and PPP polls showed.

However, Reuters surgically altered their methodology in the middle of the election season in order to move soft Trump supporters from "Trump" into one of the other / neither / unsure categories. The result was an overnight 6-point boost for Hillary. Using their original methodology (which is what their high track record from 2012 is based on), they show Trump up by 2-3 points.

That estimate is closer to what the USC poll has said for the post-debate period, which is 4-5 points for Trump. The Reuters and USC polls are also similar in their directions after the debate -- Trump doing better, although that improvement had already been under way for several days, and was therefore not a response to the debate. That is, the debate appears not to have mattered, judging from USC and Reuters.

To make sense of this, consider a recent journal article by Gelman et al (2016), "The Mythical Swing Voter" (found among Ricky Vaughn's tweets).

They look back at the 2012 election, when Romney had a good first debate, and the polls afterward suggested a 10-point movement in his favor. But who participates in the samples before and after the debate are not the same people -- maybe that 10-point swing was real, but maybe it was just a more pro-Romney crowd that participated in the sample after their team smashed the other team in a public spectacle.

Using a panel of the same individuals over time, the researchers were able to see how likely someone was to change after the debate. There was in fact a movement in Romney's direction after winning the first debate, but it was only 2-3 points instead of 10, after correcting for demographic and partisanship differences in the before and after samples.

Most people had the same preference the whole time, with only 3% changing their minds, indicating low volatility. The major difference in the before and after polls was who chose to participate -- those who did after the debate were more likely to be Romney supporters than those who participated before the debate. Perhaps it's the same effect as when fans of the losing sports team suffer a drop in testosterone and enthusiasm generally, while the fans of the winning team are turbo-charged.

So, when pollsters contact different groups of people with each poll they release, they cannot be sure that they have a representative sample each time. Maybe after some event that demoralizes the fans of one candidate, they are less likely to respond to the pollster, maybe telling them to call back when they're in a better mood -- while the fans of the other candidate are now energized at their enemy's misfortune, and are only too eager to participate in a poll and let their support for the winner of the event be known far and wide. They are probably getting a kick just from imagining the other sides' long faces when they read the poll results in a few days.

Gelman et al discuss this in the context of party affiliation, but it's broader than that. It's not only that after an event that damages the Democrat, the polls will under-sample Democrats because they're demoralized. They will under-sample anyone who was for the Democrat -- including partisan Democrats (the bulk of support), but also cross-over voters who are normally Republican, and Independents who are inclined toward the Democrat.

Differential willingness to participate also screws up our ability to generalize about Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, from such a sample, as though we were talking about the same populations every time a poll comes out.

The Democrats who do participate after their team suffers a loss are probably not the most rabid and loyal fans, who are more sensitive to public losses and more likely to be sulking. The Democrat participants are therefore less likely to qualify as "likely voters", and are less in favor of the Democrat candidate, compared to the rabid fans who are sitting things out until some good news comes along to cheer them up and make them feel like participating in the polls again. And the Republicans will not include the cross-over voters, making them even more against the Democrat candidate than is true. And the Independents will also be those more inclined toward the Republican.

The only way to keep track of these things is to track the same individuals over time in a panel. That's what the RAND poll did in 2012, and it out-performed just about all others, particularly when it suggested only a minor slump for Obama after he bombed the first debate, while the others suggested that Romney was not only doing better than before but now ahead of Obama.

The USC poll is the RAND poll under new branding, and that's why it's worth giving greater weight to than the other ones, which are going to be affected by swings in willingness to participate among Trump supporters vs. Clinton supporters. In fact, given how roller coaster-y the emotions have been this season, the non-panel polls will probably do worse than in 2012.

In particular, I've noticed PPP and Quinnipiac, which were among the best last time, have slipped a tier down in their accuracy. For example, Quinnipiac's heads-up poll from 9/8 to 9/13 had Clinton up 5, while USC had Trump up half a point over that period. Before that, PPP's heads-up poll from 8/26 to 8/28 had Clinton up 5, while USC had her up only half a point.

In general, it seems like the non-panel polls are biased against Trump, as their deviation from the more accurate panel polls is always in the pro-Clinton direction, never a more pro-Trump result than USC. Some of that is certainly due to the anti-Trump agenda of the pollsters and their corporate sponsors, which is far fiercer than whatever anti-Romney bias there was last time. Now it's the people and Trump vs. all arms of the Establishment.

But it could also be due to a stronger unwillingness among Trump voters to participate in the non-panel polls this time, compared to Romney voters last time. That's not necessarily because Trump voters are a crankier group of people, but they are more subjected to a 24/7 gauntlet of attempted demoralization by the media, compared to what Romney voters had to put up with last time.

That is evidently having an effect on their willingness to share their views with pollsters, who they might feel are about to engage them in another tedious "gotcha!" debate about whatever the Establishment hitjob du jour is. However, the demoralization campaign is clearly not having an impact on their willingness to support Trump in all ways -- to tune into the debates starring him, to follow him on social media, to attend his rallies or watch them from home, to wear Trump gear or put up Trump signs, and ultimately to vote Trump at the polling station -- first in the primaries, and soon in the general.

In the future, I'd like to see heavy restrictions on what kind of stuff goes on during campaign season. We all know how bad it is that unlimited big money gets involved. But the endless roller coaster of events is worse -- none of them end up changing people's minds or affecting the outcome. They're just a bunch of annoying shit that we're forced by the media to pay attention to. And the media make a fortune during election season -- they're the only ones who benefit from all this crap.

Somehow we elected good presidents like FDR and Eisenhower without any of today's non-stop campaigning (for those with the energy to do so), round-the-clock coverage, and roller coaster of attention and emotion.


  1. One of your most important, the entire thing. Thanks.

  2. OT: is Barbara Bush (Dubya's daughter) a lesbian? This commenter at Free Republic lays out an interesting case:


    Some other people tried to push back by noting she's had a couple boyfriends, but a Google Image search on them is ... not reassuring.

  3. Didn't read the comment, but there was a pic of her partying with Huma Abedin, Crooked Hillary's live-in lesbo lover since the mid-'90s.

    I'd say that at least raises the chance that she's bi.

  4. Wow, now even CNN is releasing liar polls -- Clinton up 5-6. They had a great record in 2012, and so far in 2016.

    You'd think that since they're the Clinton News Network, they'd be among the worst offenders, but their m.o. is like the Clintons' -- farm the ugly work out, and comment on it, but put out better stuff yourself. So they'll give massive coverage to the bogus polls by NBC, WaPo, Suffolk, etc., while only releasing good polls of their own -- to protect their reputation for accuracy.

    They've now abandoned their reputation in a last-ditch effort to stop Trump -- like some bogus poll is going to do anything.

    Also right on cue, Quinnipiac puts out three liar polls as well. They're at least conceding Ohio, and are going to concede Florida and North Carolina in stages, so that the news cycle does not paint a picture of an abrupt coup for Trump, but instead a gradual peeling away of the close states from last time.

    Even Reuters has Trump up 4 in the Southeast region, for the final week of September. Putting back in those soft Trump supporters, it's closer to Trump +10 for the region. That includes Florida and North Carolina, which will be a greater part of the sample since they're the most populous. It's impossible for Trump to be up so high in the region, yet not ahead in both those states.

    They will probably concede Pennsylvania last, since that is our biggest challenge out of OH, FL, NC, and PA. But already they've admitted it's no worse than Clinton +4.

  5. Keep up the good work. Really enjoy your informed commentary.

  6. Random Dude on the Internet10/3/16, 8:48 PM

    It's the final weeks of the election. This is it and they're not going to be leaving anything to chance. These people say that they have a duty to make sure Trump does not get elected. Any attempt at objectivity is going to be met with angry leftists (see: Matt Lauer). The election is only going to get crazier from here if Trump is still leading.

  7. They also know that Wikileaks is going to drop some serious shit tomorrow, which will blow up on Wednesday. Proof that Hillary & her State Dept. knew who ISIS was, and that they were funneling / selling them major amounts of weaponry, vehicles, etc.?

    Whatever it is, it'll be part of the 30,000 deleted emails that Trump has been warning about for awhile.

    "Deleted and bleached them, and destroyed the phones WITH A HAMMER. But y'know, I hear they can never truly erase emails for good..."

    Roger Stone said her campaign is over Wednesday because of Wikileaks.

    They figured they'd try to get in at least one day of pro-Clinton BS before the deleted emails blow up the news cycle. But they should have waited for that to at least calm down somewhat before putting out fake polls. Now they only get one day and they'll be forgotten by the next day. Fake polls in a week or two, they could have lasted as a story.

    Whatever is in those emails, will be grater than whatever happens in the debates.

  8. Now that we're pretty sure Bill and Hillary are not long for this world, we should start betting on who else is going to croak or commit suicide before or shortly after Trump's inauguration.

    These media people, the elites, anybody anti-Trump has aged 10 years in the past 10 months. Once their doom is actual rather than hypothetical, they could really enter a downward spiral.

    1. It makes me sad how these media people who follow or have followed Trump at his rallies can still speak of his supporters as vermin or just not see their humanity at all.

      Katie Tue screeching about how scary they were. Getting high fives from her fellow journalists.

      On this, I truly do not understand. It hurts my feelings, frankly. These are my people they're talking about. Leave aside the few colorful ones, what about all the others? Why and how can good people lose their humanity in the eyes of these reporters? Do they lack soulfulness?

      Help me out here!

  9. They're just insulated garbage for whom normal people are The Other, pay them no more mind than you would Muslim immigrants talking about your neighbors.

    They are too invested in their personas as anti-normal, and will not change. What will change is the roster of anchors and reporters once Trump busts up the media monopoly -- the garbage will no longer have a lock on viewers, and will be mostly flushed down the sewers where they belong.

    The only place that will hire them is a niche channel that caters to shitlibs -- MSNBC, but on a much smaller scale to reflect how tiny and niche their hardcore audience actually is. (They imagine it is as large as anyone who voted Democrat last election.)

    At that point they will be marginalized enough that we won't have to listen to their mediocre bullshit anymore. We'll have Breitbart TV, the Drudge Network, Trump News, etc.

  10. In the meantime, just don't pay any attention to the media, especially its mediocre "personalities".

    It seems like the people who get most depressed are those who tune into the media. That must have been a big part of the depressive fatalistic mindset of the conservative movement -- constantly dialed into the media, and having to get beaten up.

    I never watched cable news before last summer, watched intermittently after Super Tuesday, and stopped altogether after the primaries.

    I never followed any of the people on social media.

    Probably why I've been in a much more cheerful and optimistic mindset most of the season. Not by nature necessarily -- just from realism. Too much exposure to the media (more than 10 minutes a day, guessing) puts your worldview in the fantasy land constructed by the media.

    I don't know what else to say but stop watching and following them. They don't offer anything, so you won't be missing anything. Even breaking news, they're behind the curve with, compared to going on the internet.

  11. The best thing will be the commentary after President Trump wins:

    -1/4 outright calling for Trump's murder
    -1/4 admitting that they've scheduled therapy sessions/started using depression medication/been drinking/engaging in more risky behavior
    -1/4 stating they are seriously looking at moving to another country (for reals, guys, I'm super-serial!)
    -and 1/4 admitting that hey, ya, demographic replacement with a criminal, low-IQ class that steals jobs from Americans and commits crimes was probably an issue we should have taken seriously instead of screaming "racist" at you, so can you come back and read us here at National Review, please?

    Fucking maroons.

  12. Thanks, Ag! Funny enough, I don't have cable and very rarely watch tv: hearing this stuff, usually second hand, on twitter was enough to make me sad. In my case, not depressed, but specifically feel hurt.
    I feel like I understand my twitter pals and relatives much better, though. My brother told me again today he was depressed, and channeling you, I told him he watched too much t.v.

    Going back quickly to the media figures dehumanizing Trump supporters, especially at rallies, it occurred to me today that it mostly seems to come from the women. You're much more intuned with the media, am I right? The most egregious was the horrifically exploitative article from the Washington Post that followed around a mentally ill woman to at both exploit her and dehumanize Trump supporters. I believe *every* single piece of journalism I've seen or read about Trump supporters has come from women now that I think about it.

    Hateful stuff.

  13. Tim Kaine is a spastic pedophile faggot (check boys school). Turning off this lame debate.

  14. LOL, Trump just re-tweeted someone pointing out Creepy Kaine's pedo-face -- "looks like an evil crook out of the Batman movies".

  15. Wouldn't it be incredible if this shitty debate shifts the race more than the first Presidential debate.

  16. Kaine's facial expression is worth studying since we've never seen a bona fide pedo faggot's mannerisms for minutes and hours on end.

    The main thing that makes him look creepy is how he raises his eyebrows and forehead, which usually means surprise -- but his eyelids are narrowed at the same time, where a normal surprised face also has raised eyelids and wide-open eyes.

    Narrowed eyes indicate sleepiness, drunkenness, and generally slipping out of conscious control.

    Kaine looks like he's trying to seduce the listener with his narrowed eyes, while also raises his eyebrows and forehead in a shocked surprise expression, like he's periodically blurting out his aroused state or something -- it's so discordant, looking both drowsy and startled at the same time.

    It is as jarring to look at as a fake smile, where only the mouth smiles but not the eyes. Normal people can tell that something is way off about his face because of the disconnected and contradictory movements.

    Why the surprised face for pedos? Well that is the go-to gay mannerism. But it's what adults resort to by instinct when they want to put a baby at ease when it's nervous. However, they also open their eyes wide, whereas Kaine keeps them narrowed -- trying to gain their trust with the raised eyebrows and forehead, while looking lecherously through his beady eyelids.

    What a sick disgusting freak to look at.

  17. Here's a still image from GIS:


    And where are this pedo's lips? Did he pervertedly bite his own lips so often that they're worn away?


  18. He looks like a damn Dragonball Z villain.

  19. Random Dude on the Internet10/5/16, 7:55 AM

    I don't expect this debate last night to move the needle much but Pence absolutely destroyed Kaine last night. Kaine seemed over-rehearsed, vomiting out endless diatribes about Trump. Pence seemed to smoothly sidestep them, refused to take the bait at any point, and disarmed Kaine in a casual manner. Kaine probably really thought those Apprentice lines were going to kill.

    Kaine is a machine hack where Pence was very supportive of Trump but seemed like his own man. Like I said, I don't think this will dramatically change results but it was a strong signal for remaining cuckservatives to find another excuse to go back to the GOP fold. "Heh heh, I wish Pence was running instead of Trump!" Who cares, just as long as they fill in the bubble for Trump/Pence when it comes time to vote. Gary Johnson and Egg McMuffin are dead ends as candidates. Time for the remaining tens of thousands of cuckservatives to come back to the GOP. Pence's debate performance helps grease the wheels on this shift.

  20. Kaine gave an uber-creepy Peter Pan performance. Shameless and bratty. He reminds of this middle-aged faggy local reporter I've got in my neck of the woods. The body type, the ravaged face etc. But the reporter does have a more flaming voice than Kaine. I'm sure Kaine has gone to great lengths to de-fag his voice.

    Pence came off as wholesome, elegant, dignified, but not pretentious or uptight. I thought he did a much better job of supporting Trump's positions than Trump himself did, although the war on Russia crap went too far (Trump himself has no intention of provoking Russia cuz he thinks that all of Europe and the West needs to be united to stop the towel heads blowing crap up everywhere).

    Good work pointing out how immigration reduces wages, which Kaine did not respond to even though he interrupted and tried to discredit Pence on dozens of other statements. Of course, Kaine cited his Ellis Island heritage to try and appeal to foreigners and disgruntled blacks. Good luck with that Tim, seeing as how non-whites lump all white people together even the ones who have a "victim" heritage (like the Irish).

    Gotta go to work, more later....

  21. "I thought he did a much better job of supporting Trump's positions than Trump himself did, although the war on Russia crap went too far"

    That's why we can't let the performance and spectacle aspect of campaigning take over. Now people are more likely to say Pence was a better VP pick than Sessions, bc omfg Kaine btfo!

    Great, but should something happen to Trump, his replacement would intervene militarily in Syria, destabilize it, grow ISIS' base even more. On top of wanting to saber-rattle against Russia and possibly get us into nuclear WWIII.

    Nothing about some debate performance changes who was the best VP pick, nor what a realistic assessment of a Pence presidency would mean for important matters like war.

    Not to burst everyone's bubble, but that is what the VP is for -- serving as a back-up president, not debating clowns for a national audience.

    In fact, I'd like to see Trump switch VPs during re-election, to find someone a little younger and more closely aligned on the major issues including foreign policy. If there is going to be a third consecutive term, the candidate has to be the incumbent VP or other highly visible, accomplished, respected incumbent figure.

    Realistically, that is not Pence. And I don't think Pence was angling to be President in any case, just serving as Trump's running mate to help get him elected and regain control of the White House and Supreme Court for normal Americans.

  22. We've got manifest destiny type non-sense, characteristic of a decadent adventurist culture, that won't let many elites go. These elites aren't happy being American or concerning themselves with what ordinary Americans really want and need. No, they'd rather try and export American "interests" (aka striving and money opportunities for the elite) abroad.

    Russia behaving in a manner that's consistent with sensible security practices (no, they didn't invade Georgia without provocation, rather they reacted to Georgian aggression) and regional integrity (Crimea is quite culturally Russian and has been historically allied with Russia to the benefit of both) is no reason for America's insecurely swaggering elites and pathetic courtiers to be picking fights.

    Entitlement. Pence has drank the Kool-Aid that the US is obligated to push around countries and rulers who are sincerely nationalistic. Why? Because we're "better" and we've "earned" this "right". At least the elite thinks so. The fervor also pushes the idea that the US has a moral obligation to essentially convert everyone to at least a quasi neo liberal capitalist democracy. Guess what, ya fools? Russians don't want "freedom" like Westerners do. Cuz they ain't Westerners.

    Non Westerners can't fake it 'til they make it. We end up with a globalist/crony system in which a few people reap benefits from corruption/exploitation. Even the West itself can't do things as well as it once did. How could it when those who are supposed to lead aren't fighting for the right things anymore, when they're fighting over the spoils of adventure and polishing treasure instead of listening to their subjects?

  23. I don't know, agnostic. I don't really care for Pence but I think he demonstrated that he could be the next nominee if he really wanted to.

  24. Arizona for Clinton? LOL. Emerson's poll switched who was for Obama and Romney.

    Their topline results say the sample is 45% Obama voters, 54% Romney voters -- in line with the results from 2012.

    However in their cross-tabs, they have 54% Obama voters, and 45% Romney voters!

    If you weight Trump's and Clinton's support levels among Obama and Romney voters by their *actual* frequency, it's Trump +10 (48 to 38).

    The only question is whether this was an accident -- hard to believe -- or a deliberate move to give Clinton a prima facie good result, since she's getting killed in their polls overall.

    I favor the latter, since Emerson also biased the hell out of their Michigan poll, suggesting that 44% of the voters will be age 75 or older, rather than around 10% in reality. That put Clinton up, when a true weighting of their results by age put Trump up 7.

    Emerson is pretty good overall, but if there's a fishy result, they have heavily put their thumb on the scale -- and in both cases, favoring Crooked Hillary.

  25. Worst case scenario, Team Clinton is gonna pull a massive heist before/on election day since so many non California/non New York states are trending towards Trump. There's going to be at least some point shaving (I saw an article on Nat. Review by John Fund, in which he talked about Democratic machines getting caught covering up illegal voting and dragging their feet on voter ID measures if such measures exist in the first place). It won't be enough to tip too many states (maybe none at all) since so many are voting Trump.

    Didn't Trump make veiled references to Kaine being weird/awkward/creepy? His team wasn't born yesterday; they know what secrets their opponents have and they need to send a message about it. Like when they pulled the rent boy stunt to spook Rubio. Team Clinton is so faggy that it shouldn't be hard to keep them in line as voting gets under way.

    Certainly, most pollsters are bending over backwards right now to cover up Trump's momentum, lest anti-Trumpers be further demoralized to the point that they quietly accept the inevitable and October becomes a victory lap for Trump.


    Trump is doing gangbusters with less educated whites. 11 points higher than the previous high mark in 2008. Does the stupid party realize yet what gains they can make when they're not bible bashing and enabling cronyism and neo-liberal rape? Note the discrepancy between yuppies and lunch pail toters in the '12 election. Who wanted to vote for corporate raider Romney anyway? As for "recent" elections, it's hard to say who was a worse choice: negro criminal loving Dukakis (in the late 1980's when America was at it's most culturally conservative point since the mid 1950's) or slick vampire Romney after the '08 crash.


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