Late-deciding voters and the less educated swath of the electorate attracted by Donald Trump’s unique candidacy made it difficult for pollsters to track his support last cycle, a group of survey researchers said Thursday.
“There was a strong relationship between education and vote preference in 2016 and that was not addressed in many polls at the state level,” said Courtney Kennedy, director of survey research at the Pew Research Center. “Voters with more education were [Hillary] Clinton supporters.”
At the national level, pollsters “correct for an education imbalance in our weighting,” she said. That didn’t happen at the state level, where polls failed to track Trump’s surge in support in the closing stages of the campaign.
In the wake of last cycle’s polling misses, the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), an industry trade group, assembled a committee of 13 researchers to dissect the methodology surveyors used.
That committee, which released its findings Thursday, found that pollsters failed to account for real, late change in voter settlement while at the same time there was a deficiency in how polls were weighted.