Surprise and astonishment was the almost universal response to the results of the presidential election in the United States. Practically all the experts were wrong in predicting that Hillary Clinton would be the next president of the United States.
Why were the polls and pundits wrong? Why did Donald Trump win? What does this say about the future of American politics? What difference will a Trump presidency make? What will be the role of the Church in the next four years?
Why were the polls and pundits wrong?
Actually, the national polls were not wrong. Hillary Clinton did win the national popular vote. It was closer than most polls predicted, but the results were within the margin of error.
Pollsters only survey a sample of the population and therefore cannot be expected to be perfectly accurate all the time. This is often expressed by saying that the margin of error is a certain number of percentage points, say 2 or 3 percent. The margin of error is supposed to measure the maximum amount by which the sample results are expected to differ from those of the actual population.
Depending on how you aggregate the polls, the difference between the national popular vote and the final poll aggregation was 1, 2 or 3 percent, which was within the margin of error. Nate Silver, the nation’s most famous number-cruncher at fivethirtyeight.com, argues that the final polls were about as accurate as they were four years ago, except that year Obama’s win was bigger than predicted.