Donald Trump won the debate According to online Polls

Donald Trump won the debate According to online Polls

Donald Trump won the debate

The key difference is the kind of poll the candidates are citing. Trump is going on unscientific online polls, which don’t have any controls to make sure they are actually representative of American voters. Clinton’s claim relies on more rigorous scientific polls — those like CNN’s — that apply controls to try to be representative of US voters.

Because of that, Clinton’s claim that she won the debate is much more credible. As Huffington Post polling director Ariel Edwards-Levy put it on Twitter, “A poll that does not exert some measure of control over who takes it and how many times they do so is not a poll and you should ignore it.”

The polls Clinton is relying on, on the other hand, use statistical controls to make sure the sample isn’t so skewed. They try to contact people that match the voting population — so they’ll try to ensure that a certain per cent of respondents in the survey are white, black, Latino, Democrat, Republican, and so on. And if they can’t reach the right amount of people, they’ll sometimes adopt statistical weights to bring up or down a specific group — so if a survey has too many men, they might try to weigh the women’s responses higher.

There are questions about how methodologically rigorous even these scientific polls are, given that they’re done so quickly after the debate. But Nate Silver pointed out on FiveThirtyEight that scientific post-debate polls like CNN’s tend to correlate with the longer-term trend in broader polls after debates. There’s no reason to think that an unscientific poll would have the same value Full Story


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