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Donald Trump Wins Presidency, Defeating Hillary Clinton: How Did Pollsters Get It So Wrong?

Despite several months of polls predicting Hillary Clinton would be victorious in this year’s presidential election, her Republican opponent, Donald Trump, ended up winning on Tuesday, November 8.

Related: PHOTOS: Donald Trump's Most Offensive and Outrageous Quotes Ranked

After the nation’s leading pollsters — including those for Bloomberg Politics, CBS News and Fox News, among others — pegged the Democratic candidate, 69, as the next POTUS in her race against the ex–Celebrity Apprentice host, 70, many are confused and wondering if their mathematical models, assumptions and survey models are credible.

As America witnessed last night, Trump had an early leap in electoral votes, contradicting pollsters’ conventional judgment. According to a number of political analysts, Clinton’s campaign seemingly underestimated the strength of Trump’s support among white voters in suburban and especially rural areas.

Related: PHOTOS: Hillary Clinton’s A-List Supporters

GOP strategist and NBC analyst Mike Murphy took to Twitter on Tuesday night to share his disbelief in Trump’s triumph over the former first lady.

“I’ve believed in data for 30 years in politics, and data died tonight,” Murphy wrote. “I could not have been more wrong about this election.”

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

Arie Kapteyn, director of the University of Southern California’s (USC) Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research, spoke to USA Today on Tuesday about the dramatic disparity between the polls and the election’s outcome.

Related: PHOTOS: Celebrities Supporting Donald Trump for President

Kapteyn (who participated in research for a Los Angeles Times/USC poll that predicted Trump as the victor) says that part of the reason polls weren’t completely accurate this year might be because there are many Trump voters who were too embarrassed to voice their support.

“There’s some suggestion that Clinton supporters are more likely to say they’re a Clinton supporter than Trump supporters are to say they’re a Trump supporter,” he said.

Related: PHOTOS: Bill and Hillary Clinton Through the Years

Kapteyn also told USA Today that there have been numerous pollsters who erroneously ruled out the fact that many people who didn’t vote in 2012 would vote this year. “But the people who didn’t vote last time are more likely to be Trump supporters,” he said. “If you eliminate people who didn’t vote last time, you may have eliminated too many Trump supporters.”

In the final average of four-way polls tracked by RealClearPolitics, Clinton led 45.5 percent to Trump’s 42.2 percent, Libertarian Gary Johnson‘s 4.7 percent and Green Party candidate Jill Stein‘s 1.9 percent. According to RealClearPolitics, polls that consistently put Clinton ahead over the past few weeks included Bloomberg Politics, CBS News, Fox News, Reuters/Ipsos, USA Today/Suffolk, Quinnipiac, Monmouth, Economist/YouGov and NBC News/SM. FiveThirtyEight and The New York Times also predicted that Clinton would win.

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