CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD-TV) – Many people are calling President-elect Donald Trump’s victory a stunning upset given the fact many media outlets had pre-election polls favoring Hilary Clinton.
Political experts say the 2016 election will be studied for years and they have already started at College of Charleston. In Dr. Jordan Ragusa’s politics class, his lesson the day after the election was titled Why were the polls wrong?
“One of the assumptions going into a poll is that people are telling the truth,” said Dr. Ragusa, “so if there are reasons why people would not tell you the truth it’s a really difficult thing to understand.”
Ragusa points the phenomenon called the ‘shy Trump voter’ effect. “I think that what we saw last night is an indication that there was a large reservoir of people that voted for Trump, but didn’t want to admit it to pollsters,” said Dr. Ragusa, citing social desirability as a possible motivation.
The head of the CofC political science department, Dr. Gibbs Knotts, says there is a lot of polling data now but their reach can sometimes be limited. “it’s easy to poll if the public is 80/20 on an issue – there’s just overwhelming support.” said Dr. Knotts, “it’s just a lot more difficult to poll when we have such a competitive electoral system.”