Can polls truly capture the will of the American people? A polling post-mortem after the 2016 U.S. presidential election

After the 2016 U.S. presidential election, many commentators pointed to the supposed failure of the polling industry in predicting a Donald Trump victory.  However, actual polling performance was much more mixed with overall accuracy at the national level and inaccuracy for crucial swing state polls. In addition, many of the unique attributes of voter behaviour in 2016 (e.g., disillusionment with establishment candidates and first-time voting) should be understood through qualitative methods in addition to polling.  In this session, the Gallup team will propose which election-related questions are best answered through polling and which questions are best answered through qualitative methods.

  • Understanding where qualitative inquiry can help to explain some of the unique phenomena of this election
  • Examining the impact of televised focus groups to “predict” voting behaviour
  • Exploring the limitations of polling as well as the most effective use and interpretation of qualitative methods

Location: Date: April 6, 2017 Time: 9:30 am - 10:00 am Ilana Ron Levey, Gallup Stephanie Marken, Gallup