Polls that predicted Trump’s 2016 victory say he will lose this time around

The polls reported Mr Trump had a small but firm lead over Hillary Clinton during the 2016 US election

Graig Graziosi
Tuesday 13 October 2020 16:49
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A pair of polls that accurately predicted in 2016 that Donald Trump would win the election have released their predictions for the 2020 US election, and it does not bode well for Mr Trump.  

Both the Investor's Business Daily/TechnoMetrica poll (IBD/TIPP) and University of Southern California Dornslife/Los Angeles Times poll (USC/LA Times) predicted that Mr Trump would succeed in 2016, when many other outlets and forecasters were sure that Hillary Clinton would win the election.  

On 2 Nov, 2016, the Investor's Business Daily poll showed Mr Trump was in a position to defeat Ms Clinton by 2 percentage points. The USC poll had a similar result, suggesting Mr Trump would beat her by 3.2 percentage points.  

Both polls now predict that Mr Trump will lose the election.  

On 12 Oct, the IBT poll predicted that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will beat Mr Trump by 8.5 percentage points. The USC poll predicted an even stronger victory, placing Mr Biden 13 percentage points ahead of Mr Trump.  

Based on the polling data, it appears Mr Biden's support at this point in the election is wider ranging than Ms Clinton's was at the same time in 2016.  

Four years ago, Ms Clinton's support ceiling was around 45 per cent in the IBT poll.  

During the same time period, the USC poll showed Mr Trump beating Ms Clinton nearly every day in the weeks leading up to the election.  

Mr Trump has largely dismissed polling that does not show him winning, and has claimed that he is ahead "in every poll that matters."  

In a tweet earlier this year, Mr Trump told Fox News - long considered a safe harbour for right-wing ideas and politicians - to fire their "Fake Pollster" because he had never had a good Fox Poll." In the tweet, he shared an image from 2016 of a Fox News chyron reporting that Ms Clinton was leading Mr Trump.  

Despite Mr Biden's substantial lead against Mr Trump in nearly every substantial poll, many analysts and journalists are hesitant to trust the polls - or at least publicly predict the election outcome based on them - due to the outcome of the 2016 election.  

Appearing on CNN, FiveThirtyEight’s Clare Malone said that people should watch state polls, especially those in swing states, but notes the reluctance for some to put their faith in the data.  

"People do have this emotional reticence to accept polls because of that 2016 hangover," she said. 

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