Oh Noes, Hillary is LOSING?

June 30, 2016 By: Primo Encarnación Category: Uncategorized

In a sea of blue, ranging from a Clinton lead of two to a Clinton lead of twelve, the line stands out like a crimson streak: Rasmussen Reports 6/29, Clinton 39, Trump 43. Trump leads by 4 points. You might think it’s strange, with all the other polls showing Hillary ahead, and especially compared to the last Rasmussen Reports poll a week prior: Clinton 44, Trump 39.  You’d be right to think so: it IS strange.

How did this race shift 9 points in a week? Is this some sort of outlier? Well, yes and no.

Yes, this is an outlier compared to all the other polls measuring the state of the race. But it’s not an outlier for Rasmussen. At 39%, Hillary in this poll is below 40% for just the sixth time ever in this race. The previous polls that only have her in the 30s are:

I'm sensing a pattern here.

I’m sensing a pattern here.

  • Rasmussen, June 1, 39%
  • Rasmussen, May 18, 37%
  • Rasmussen, April 28, 39%
  • Rasmussen, April 26, 38%
  • Rasmussen, Dec 23, 37%

In fact, in 101 polls taken since last May, only these six Rrrrreports show her below 40%.  Of those same 101 polls, a total of 10 show Trump ahead, and only 3 show them tied. Of those 13 polls tied-or-worse results, 5 of them are Rasmussen polls, (and 4 are from FOX, well, duh!)

You’ve seen me refer to them as Rrrrrasmussen in the past. All those R’s are in there for a rrrrreason. They are consistently outside the margins of this set of polls partly because they say they poll “Likely” voters. Every polling organization has their own “secret sauce” for determining likely voters. Sure, they ask someone what their intentions are come election day, just like they ask whom that someone would vote for if they indeed vote. But no one at this stage of any campaign is measuring likely voters because, especially in THIS campaign, no one can model what likely voters would likely look like in November.

Rasmussen also uses robo calls, (“Press. Six.Six.Six. For. Hillaryclinton.”) instead of in-person calling, and they “smooth” their numbers via another secret sauce which… well, I’ll let them explain it:

Hint: it's mostly mayonnaise.

Hint: it’s mostly mayonnaise.

…the raw data is processed through a weighting program to insure that the sample reflects the overall population in terms of age, race, gender, political party, and other factors. The processing step is required because different segments of the population answer the phone in different ways. For example, women answer the phone more than men…

A lot of pollsters do something similar to be able to account for differences in their data versus the general populace, i.e. everyone has their own secret sauce and that’s what leads to a measurable “house effect” – the difference between poll results and reality, based on the pollster’s methods.

But in a lot of polls this year, I have seen Hispanic turnout smoothed to 8% of the voting populace, which is historically the average, but we all know that average is rising, and their likelihood of participation in THIS election, with THESE candidates, is likely to be much higher than that.

But there’s one other part of Rasmussen’s methodology which really sets my teeth on edge. Cellphones have been incorporated into most pollsters’ calling patterns, but not for these guys. Rrrrrassy, how do you handle cell phones?

To reach those who have abandoned traditional landline telephones, Rasmussen Reports uses an online survey tool to interview randomly selected participants from  a demographically diverse panel.

Hmm, a random subset of a panel that Rasmussen created to be demographically diverse. I guess that means they let some non-Southern Baptists on, maybe a Cuban or two, for tincture.

I’ve said before, at this point in the race don’t look at the raw numbers of polls, so much as their trends with respect to each other, and with respect to previous results from the same pollster. These trends are all telling me that Hillary is indeed on her way to a big victory, but how big will be difficult to quantify until after the conventions.

But will that stop me from trying to make big, bold predictions? Of course not!   So coming up soon, we will look the status of the race based on what has happened in the past 6 weeks, since our series on Hillary’s electoral chances, and what lies ahead.

In the meantime, take all these conflicting poll numbers with several grains of salt, and for FOX and Rrrrrasmussen, take them with a shot of tequila and a bite of lime, too, for they are the out-liars.

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11 Comments to “Oh Noes, Hillary is LOSING?”

  1. Opinionated Hussy says:

    Where have I heard similar sampling problems before?…..Oh, yes, “Dewey Defeats Truman”.

  2. SallyinMI says:

    Don’t forget: McCain/whatshername lead Obama/Biden.
    And Romney beat Obama, according to Karl Rove.

  3. JAKvirginia says:

    Primo… hold on. Today FOX put Hillary ahead of Trump in their latest poll!! I was shocked to say the least. Then I snickered.

  4. Rasmussen is a “wannabe” poll. Pitiful little thing, that!

  5. Given how long people have been conducting polling and their abysmal track record, one cannot but suspect that here is very little science behind their ‘secret sauce’. In fact, polling is less designed to discover facts and more designed to sway voters.

  6. bud maone says:

    A fine explanation.

  7. fierywoman says:

    Sam Wang at Princeton Election Consortium is the best!
    (I also check out earthy pithy astrologers on the subject but wouldn’t want to insult anyone around here.)

  8. Sarah Routh says:

    Here’s Rasmussen’s Nov. 5, 2012 prediction: ”
    Bottom line: Romney 315, Obama 223. That sounds high for Romney. But he could drop Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and still win the election.


    Thus Karl Rove’s epic meltdown on FOX News election night.

  9. Look for another Ras poll triggered by Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton saying hi to each other as they crossed an airport on the way to their respective gates. Watch Trump screech collusion, corruption and conniptions about this just loud and long enough to distract attention from yet another lawsuit he has gotten his patootie stuck in. The King of Debt isn’t wearing any clothes and he ain’t even an emperor.

  10. 538 is one of my two go-to statistics site. They have ranked pollsters: http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/pollster-ratings/

    Rasmussen actually got a C+, meaning there are worse pollsters out there. And far better ones.

    538 now has its 2016 predictions up: http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/

    For a more academic site, try http://election.princeton.edu/.

    I find these two sites, both of which have excellent predictive histories, very reassuring when the media is touting some off-the-wall poll.

  11. Gary Hlree says:

    ‘the ‘Raz is a Repub poll.