First Coast Connect: Binder Says Polls Were More Accurate Than Being Portrayed

Nov 10, 2016

After election night pollsters around the county nearly all predicted Hillary Clinton would beat Donald Trump, Trump, who spent the final weeks of his campaign telling his supporters the polls were wrong, n the end was proven correct.

But Michael Binder, Public Opinion Research Lab director at the University of North Florida, said most of those swing state polls were within the margin of error. Appearing Thursday on First Coast Connect, Binder said the pollsters got a lot of their numbers right.

“The polls while they were off a couple of points generally speaking were in line as far as error goes with 2012,” he said. “These were not that different as far as margins of error. The difference was they were all kind of pointing toward Hillary (Clinton).”

Binder said the national polls did show an overall lead by Clinton over Trump, which was proven correct when she won the overall majority of votes. He said it was on the state level where the margin of error affected the results in the Electoral College.

He also said polling nailed most other state races, including the margin of victory for Senator Marco Rubio and support for Amendment 2.

Binder said one problem is that the media hadn’t emphasized what a margin of error really means and that a race should be considered a dead heat if one candidate’s lead is within the margin of error.                         

Producer Kevin Meerschaert can be reached at kmeerschaert@wjct.org, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @KMeerschaertJax