Trump performs better among independents–Reuters/lpsos poll

[Update: A commenter points out that the 16% difference actually amounts to 50% more Democrats than Republicans interviewed in the referenced poll]

Clinton leads Trump by 8-points– in poll that interviewed 16% more Democrats

The following is a media news analysis

Because this feature is proving popular, here’s another installment of my look at the media’s reporting on presidential polling. This article reports “Clinton leads Trump by eight points” in the latest online Reuters/lpsos poll.

Like the other polls I’ve recently highlighted, the Reuters/lpsos poll appears to have interviewed significantly more Democrats than Republicans. This is not disclosed in the news articles.

According to data on p. 14 of the poll, 46% of the respondents identify as Democrats (strong, moderate or leaning) and 30% identify as Republicans (strong, moderate or leaning).

Read the Reuters/lpsos poll

Assuming 16% more Democrats than Republicans turn out to vote in the November general election, the results may correlate with the poll. But what if an equal number from each party turns out? What if more Republicans than Democrats vote? Obviously, that could change the results, the same way this poll would likely read differently had it interviewed 16% more Republicans. There’s no indication that the poll has adjusted for this factor (though it has adjusted for factors such as gender, age and education).

Clinton leads Trump by 8-points in poll that interviewed 16% more Democrats

Further, what effect might it have for the voting population to hear one poll after another declare a candidate far ahead–without the disclosure that the sample was heavy on one party? Do the polls and reporting risk influencing the electorate by providing an incomplete picture, rather than accurately measuring the trends?

Presidential nominee, Democrat Hillary Clinton

Presidential nominee, Democrat Hillary Clinton

As continuing evidence that it’s possible to make poll results look more or less favorable to a candidate, this poll was universally portrayed as favorable to Hillary Clinton. But Donald Trump actually receives more of the independent vote among both likely and registered voters.  That could be significant. Assuming an equal number of Democrats and Republicans were to turn out to vote, it’s the “independents” who could matter most. But this finding went unreported in news articles.

There’s no perfect way to conduct a poll, and no way to know ahead of time what the makeup of the voting public will be on election day. And I still believe trends in polls typically prove accurate over time. But it seems important, for context, to disclose when significantly more people from one party are interviewed.


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8 Responses to “Trump performs better among independents–Reuters/lpsos poll”

  1. Burton Chertok
    August 20, 2016 at 6:13 pm #

    I must be a simpleton because I think that a poll that contains 16% more democrats than republicans ought to show the democrat candidate 16 points above the republican. And, since the democrat led by only 8, it means that 8 were for the republican ergo, had their been an equal number polled the republican would likely have won. Where am I going wrong??? Why can’t the phony biased polling people simply balance their contacts.???

  2. Lyon
    August 20, 2016 at 7:03 pm #

    You should use Disqus Sharyl.

    The comment section would come alive.

  3. Rocky Mak
    August 20, 2016 at 9:43 pm #

    Actually it’s 50% more Democrats than Republicans. The stated percentages are portions of a larger whole with more choices, but when comparing only those two – stated in the simplest possible math – it is three Democrats polled for every two Republicans. 1-1/2 times as many, or 50% more.

    This is a common error, and also shamefully a too common tool used to intentionally mislead with seemingly correct, but actually false statistics. (Which you were absolutely not trying to do here; Just sayin’, so my comments aren’t misconstrued.)

  4. ALEX
    August 20, 2016 at 10:52 pm #

    Great job on this. I have been watching this in other polls after the democrat convention? The very first CNN poll a few days after the democrat convention mysteriously left out 18-35 year olds and had a +/- of 8% in a few age groups…Clinton led by 8% in that poll-go figure.

    I was really interested in seeing that age group in the CNN poll(18-35). The democrat convention was the biggest fiasco that I have seen in my almost 50 years and like many other tens of millions, was well aware from social media what went on in and around that stadium..

    The Atlanta Journal constition did similar nonsense when it lowered the repub sample substantialy from 235 to 205 to give Clinton an 4% lead…ALL OF THIS IS PREDICTABLE NOW!!!

  5. dennis wooldridge
    August 21, 2016 at 12:00 am #

    Wow, thanks. I think I am beginning to understand the current polls. I think they are meant to discourage those that will vote Trump. I plan to vote Trump because I made up my mind to support anyone but Hillary.
    I really appreciate your insight and shedding light on what is really going on in the dark minds of the media elites and pollsters that support Hillary.

  6. Dave
    August 21, 2016 at 3:03 am #

    I place more faith in the People’s Pundit Daily tracking poll, which has the race tied.

  7. csmats
    August 21, 2016 at 2:13 pm #

    Sharyl Attkisson might be the only true journalist left in America. The only thing that matters to her are the facts.

  8. Brendan
    September 4, 2016 at 10:35 am #

    Don’t use Disqus… Too many trolls and tin foil hats.

    Nice article.

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