How polls got it wrong

Many polls have a sample of 300 to 400 people but over 100 million people voted

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Pollsters are licking their wounds from Tuesday night’s elections. Most had Hillary Clinton beating Donald Trump. But they now say it’s clear Trump had enthusiasm on his side. And they say that’s what led to the down ballot onslaught in Indiana.

While Trump was expected to win Indiana, all of the major down ballot Democratic candidates were expected to win. They included Evan Bayh, John Gregg, and Glenda Ritz.

“In some states this is Donald Trump having coattails, and Republicans benefiting from him,” said Dr. Greg Shufeldt, a political science professor at Butler University.

He said part of the problem is what polling actually is.

“You’re using the results from this small group to draw generalizations to the whole population,” he said.

Many polls have a sample of 300 to 400 people. But over 100 million people voted.

He said the unusual nature of the race in Indiana after the primaries also played a factor.

“A sitting governor (Mike Pence) left the race to become vice presidential nominee. A former U.S. senator (Evan Bayh) got back in a race. So there was a game of musical chairs and so I think that makes it harder to poll,” he said.

But he said the hardest problem is getting in touch with people who are actually voting.

“It’s a moving target. As more and more people get cell phones and less and less people answer the phones, we use caller ID to block calls that we don’t know, it gets harder to get people on the phone,” he said.

But he also said polls aren’t obsolete.

“I think that there’s still a place for polls, but what I always encourage my students and what I would encourage citizens to do is to don’t put all of your faith in one poll,” he said.

Dr. Shufeldt also said the election proved that people are frustrated with government. He said it’s the same factors that played into the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom.

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