The world never knew it – perhaps we were disfavored for our opinion – but on this web-site, we predicted a Trump win in the last 10 days of July – all without saying anything against his rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Rather late in the game, at the end of October, we reviewed a movie in which one of the heroes shows the resilience of the American political system by mentioning how President Truman won against Dewey, although he was the underdog.
We do not claim to be prescient; we had no dog in that fight. Our prediction was based on what was taught in a Canadian secondary school, way back in the flower-power years. Perhaps this is an over-generalization, but peace and love seemed to be defined a bit differently back then from what some disappointed Clinton supporters now display. Never were tears shed like in the present on account of the one who lost a presidential race, never did they take to the streets in protest like now. Yeah, there were some nasty incidents in Chicago by a group called Students for a Democratic Society, SDS for short. Less democratic than an STD they were.
Back to the point of what was taught in school: the U.S. president is chosen by the Electoral College. Sure, the teacher threw in that bit about how the Founding Fathers (whether in Canada or the U.S.A.) designed matters in thusly on account of their wisdom – could it be any otherwise? The watch-word, as in the Aretha Franklin song was respect. Sometime later, even the less-educated would demand the same, dishing out punishment for being “dissed”. Surely, if one’s candidate lost as far as the number of electors was concerned, and barring some surprise in the meantime, hope remained for a come-back in the future.
But the crux of this article is about the pro-Trump group’s claim tht the polls were rigged. DJT himself harped on the subject. Perhaps it was a mere ploy, the pre-game hype about winning, the necessary psyching up.
Our opinion is that this was a mere tempest in a teapot by some of the pro-Trump segment.
Let us examine such data as we have been able to gather.
On the whole, once Trump was the sole piece standing on the red squares of the chessboard, he was behind Ms. Clinton, but then narrowed the gap. Some gaffes prior set him back again, while he set up his rook (called “torre” in Spanish, i.e. “tower”) for a potential check. Those polls did not see the coming “checkmate”. They were accused of bias, and indeed, there may have been, but we will see that the same is true of the opinions of the accusers. Let’s see how. Twelve or thirteen articles, mostly found through web-pages of pro-Trump supporters, provide the material for our analysis.
[Observation, posted April 13, 2017: Hmmm, Red Square. Not meant to suggest that he was in cahoots with the Russians. Red was meant merely for Republican, as Blue for Democrat.]
Predictions and Feelings
As mentioned above, we predicted a Trump victory back in July. We decided not to hubristically circulate our prediction, stating that we hoped that it would not be necessary to scrub it later on.
On September 16, pastor Chuck Baldwin reported that Hillary was “now actually trailing”, and that Trump was favored at that moment by having “ALL” of the momentum. While sounding optimistic, the wording suggests caution on his part.
One month later, libertarian Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., in an article titled “Don’t Trust the Polls”, mentions that Real Clear Politics had Hillary at an average of 6.3 per cent over Trump, and that one Nate Silver onl gave “the Donald” a 13.4 per cent chance of success. However, a political science professor, Helmut Norpoth, a forecaster with a model correct since 1996, was 87 per cent sure of a Trump victory. This was found in a site which got his name wrong as “North”.
With a byline of October 22, another libertarian, Bill Sardi, stated “Some (rigged) polls have shown Hillary is favored … ”
October 24: Michael Schwab, reporting for the British Daily Mail, mentioned an ABC survey putting Clinton ahead by 12 points; and quoted the opinion of Lara Trump: the polls must be wrong, because of the size of the crowds coming to the Donald’s rallies.
An article on October 25, mocked by the pro-Trump people, written by Chris Cillizza, virtually gloated, that in spite of bad news about Obamacare, Clinton was 1.3 per cent ahead according to some polls, 3 per cent according to the Washington Post, and leading in most “key battleground states”. The gist, through its title, “In an alternate universe, this Obamacare news is absolutely devastating for Hillary Clinton”, is that the Republicans failed to get any advantage of this manna from heaven.
The next day, in a blog by Sam Rolley on the Personal Liberty site, “Hillary can’t mask this poll predicting the Donald’s victory” predicted, partly in jest, that Trump would win on the basis of Hallowe’en masks with his likeness outselling those of his rival, 55 to 45 per cent. The claim is made that this method of prediction had been successful since 1996.
Arjun Kharpal at CNBC, a web-site accused of pro-Clinton bias, published a report on October 28, stating that an artificial intelligence program shows Trump the winner. It was claimed that it had made correct predictions in the last 3 presidential races. Nevertheless, the article, while stating that the AI program was getting better all the time, included a caveat that the data it was using could give an incorrect result.
An article written November 1 by Samantha Chang on conservative website bizpacreview.com, reported that the man who was the pollster for Jimmy Carter, a Democrat by the name of Pat Caldwell, had the Clinton campaign “sinking like the Titanic”, with a possible Reaganesque victory for her rival. In parenthesis, it was stated that “[Caldwell] should know”.
Scott Adams’ Blog predicted a Trump landslide on November 2, on the basis that his foibles are not the stuff that generate fear in the voters’ minds.
On November 4th, Jim Hoft at the Gateway Pundit, using results from 2 different polls, predicts a Trump landslide, similar to that of Ronald Reagan’s, by 4 to 8 %.
On November 7th, Finian Cunningham at Sputnik News, with an “if” in the title, hedged its bets, commenting on how tight the race was, with some polls putting Trump ahead.
Hoft again, on November 8th, reports that a Las Vegas odds-maker had the final prediction that Trump would win by a 10-point landslide. Deducting cheating by the Democrats, he would be shown to have won by 2 points. The prediction was supposedly given to Trump personally a week earlier.
Also on November 8th, conservative web-site Breitbart, with title, “Only correct Public Brexit Poll Predictgs Trump Victory”, by Alex Swoyer, states that surveys conducted between November 3rd and 6th give Trump a 50 to 45 lead over Clinton, with a margin of error of 2.5 %.
Our Summary of the Data
We see that sometimes the data quoted by the Trump supporters either stated a Trump win, but does not state by how much; stated a possible win, allowing for a defeat; or predicted a landslide, perhaps of the type had by Ronald Reagan. Our data seems, however, to reflect only the popular vote, not the results for the electoral college. Thus, those who made the predictions were guilty of succumbing to the same fallacy as the protesters who refuse to accept the defeat of their preferred candidate.
Our own rather unscientific collection of data has “Brexit-type victory” once, “Reagan-type victory” twice, and “landslide” three times. Based on the popular vote, these (discounting the one which stated this as only possible), were as wrong as the predictions for a successful Clinton win.
Three articles were based on track records, two of them claiming accuracy since 1996: the Hallowe’en mask poll, and Professor Helmut Norpoth’s. The third, based on an artificial intelligence program, is claimed to have made successful predictions since the year 2000. These did not venture to guess at any specific numbers.
Two other sources quoted above have some sort of legitimacy: the bookmaker’s, and the one which predicted the pro-Brexit result. The former exagerrated by claiming a 10 point victory, but got close in giving a final number of a 2 % victory. It is ironic that a web-site mocked by Clinton supporters was actually the most accurate, Breitbart. Unless we are misusing statistics, through the claim made there that it would be 50% to 45 % for Trump, with an error of plus or minus 2.5%, we see that both Trump and Hillary could have won by 47.5 per cent. By spreading the other 5 per cent equally between the two candidates, we get a [technical] 50 – 50, meaning that it is the electoral college which would need to have the final say anyway – thus cutting through time-consuming recounts to see by what fraction of a percentage the popular vote might have been won.
If Americans want to ignore the significance of the electoral college, they could have gone for a British-type parliamentary type system, which must be what those Americans who threatened to go to Canada if Trump won would seem to prefer; they could go for a unicameral system based only on the popular vote, or they could risk the populism rigged elections of some third-world countries.
At any rate, those who were arguing that the pro-Clinton polls were rigged, were rigging their own sails in the hopes of a favorable result by emphasizing the number of ballots cast instead of the number of electors that would make the final decision.
These are the materials used, excluding those linked above or already mentioned by title. As dates are given in the main text, they are not repeated here. Baldwin, Chuck: Chuck Baldwin Live: What’s Wrong with Hillary?; Sardi, Bill: lewrockwell.com: “You’ve Got It All Wrong About Donald Trump”; Schwab, Nikki; Daily Mail: “’We’ve got some stuff up our sleeve’: Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law hints that Republican nominee has an ‘October surprise’ to drop on Hillary Clinton”; Kharpal, Arjun: CNBC: “Trump will win the election and is more popular than Obama in 2008, AI system finds”; Chang, Samantha; bizpacreview.com; “Dem pollster Pat Caddell predicts Trump landslide (and he should know): ‘This dam is about to break’” Adams, Hoft, Jim: Gateway Pundit: “Election Prediction 2016: Current Trend Lines Show Trump Will Win in Landslide”, and “Vegas Oddsmaker Predicts Brexit-Like Win for Donald Trump”; Cunningham, Finian, Sputnik News, reprinted and found at lewrockwell.com: “A Digital 9/11 if Trump Wins”.
November 13, 2016
© 2016, Paul Karl Moeller