Saturday, October 29, 2016

US Media Giants Caught Skewing The Polls For Hillary

A few days ago the solidly 'liberal' mainstream media (and enough British news organisations to make us worry that our country is following along the road to dystopia) were crowing that the American presidential election was all over bar the shouting and Hillary Clinton could order new curtains for The White House. As evidence of their claims they cited an ABC / Washington Post opinion poll which gave 'Crooked Hillary' a 12 point lead. Well it seems Hillary is not the only crook in the election process, her supporters in the media are all as bent as a boxing day turd, if this and other big leads claimed for the Democrat are anything to go by. just yesterday, after coming under forensic scrutiny, the next round of polling for ABC / WaPo suggested Clinton's lead had collapsed in the space of less than a week to six points. This near impossible turn round attracted even more in depth analysis of the information gathering method used by this polling company (whose polls for other organisations show very different results) and whaddaya know? Today as the latest version of this poll shows Clinton's lead has crumbled further to just 2 points, which is within the margin of error.

Amusingly for those of us on the civilised side of The Atlantic, these new results do not reflect the latest FBI bombshell which may impact the Clinton vote as it raises the trustworthiness issue again for the Democrats campaign. Polling was concluded on October 27th. Also the poll data is distorted by an 8-point sampling advantage for Democrats

Having a qualification in statistics (not degree level at the time but probably higher now, in this era of multiple choice questions)I sat down with our Boggart Blog / Daily Stirrer colleague Xavier, who has a MSc in Engineering and a BSc in Mathematics, and we did a bit of anlaysis of our own. But first, let's look at what the pollsters say about it:
METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Oct. 24-27, 2016, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,148 likely voters. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 37-29-29 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents.
So what happened? For months, since the UK General Election in 2015 in fact, we have been arguing that what mainstream media publish are not unbiased polls but goal-seeking reports. Research has shown that with very little tweaking of the way questions are phrased and how 'undecideds are handled polls can be 'weighted' to produce a result in line with whatever result is desired by the commissioning organisation. The easiest way to do this is by simply distorting the make - up of the sample pool.

Another trick used widely by organisations running polls on this presidential election also came to our attention during the UK election of 2015, the technique of restating the question about voting intention but excluding minor parties. In Britain when voters who initially said they intended to vote for anti - establishment libertarian party UKIP were given a straight choice, Conservative or Labour, it was anticipated most would go Conservative. In fact UKIP's polling at around 10 to 15 percent was largely due to disillusioned working class Labour voters deserting 'the people's party because they felt it had become elitists, a party of bureaucrats, academics and professionals and was out of touch with working class concerns. The fact that while polls showed the parties neck and neck, the Conservatives won the popular vote by seven per cent was attributed largely to this polling error. In the USA, the minor party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, polling jointly at around ten per cent pose a similar problem for polling firms. When voters are offered a four way choice Clinton's rapidly diminishing lead drops to within the margin of error. Take out the wildcards and the lead widens.

All this shows is that rather than Johnson taking votes from Trump and the Republicans while Stein takes somewhat less votes from Clinton and the Democrats, in fact both are taking votes from Hillary Clinton. We also found while studying the data that there is some truth in the claims that Stein is doing a lot better than published polls show because she is picking up the votes of Bernie Sanders supporters disgusted at the way the Democrat National Committee colluded with the Clinton campaign to steal the nomination from Sanders.

WikiLeaks have covered this and even published a handy guide 37-page poll-rigging guide on how to "include ethnic 'oversamples' as required" to manufacture the desired results.

With today's latest ABC / Washington Post poll, the real "smoking gun" of how polls are manipulated to manipulate votes is revealed as the pollsters admit that the collapse of the apparent Clinton lead is "not mainly about people shifting in their voting intention" but about how their sample pool was constructed.
"Changes in the poll’s latest four nights (due to a public outcry from people in online news sites who understand something of how polls work) compared with the previous four are not mainly about people shifting in their candidate preference, but about changes in who’s intending to vote." Those saying they were not likely to vote were being asked who they would vote for if they HAD to vote. Thus a (relatively) large number of Blacks and Hispanics who said they did not plan to vote and were unlikely to change their minds, were nudged to declare a preference for the Democrat candidate.
So that's one you manufacture incredible results.

ABC / Wapo Poll

So why would allegedly respectable organisations like ABC / Wapo claim that the 10-point swing (in less than a week) was driven by changes in "who's intending to vote," but their own data shows just a 2-point swing in people who said they were "certain to vote" on 23 October, when the poll reflected a 12-point Hillary lead, and 27 October when the lead had collapsed to just 2 points. Are we really expected to believe that a 2-point swing in voter intentions somehow translated to a 10-point swing in the poll result? Something tells us it had a little more to do with excluding ethnic 'oversamples' after being caught cheating for the benefit of their favoured candidate."

So, now that ABC / Wapo have effectively declared their own poll utterly useless, the question is what were their motivations for skewing their polling data? Consider these points:
  • Trump is simply experiencing a huge surge in momentum...seems odd to have this kind of surge on minimal news (remember the poll was taken prior to the recent FBI disclosures).
  • ABC / Wapo pollsters got a slap on the wrist from the Hillary campaign for getting a bit overzealous on their manufactured 12-point "lead" which could have resulted in lower voter turnout for Hillary as supporters decided their vote was not needed.
  • >ABC / Wapo reviewed early voting stats and realized their polls were in no way reflective of reality and decided they'd rather not lose ALL credibility (though may be too late for that).
So does this mean Trump has a better chance of winning than mainstream media are willing to admit? You may say that, we of course could not possibly comment.

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