News

The Impact Of Data And Polling On The Election Result

Tobi Elkin

MediaPost
November 10, 2016

Now that the votes have been tallied, the people have spoken, and we have a new President-elect, many  wonder what effect a Trump presidency will have on business.

RTBlog heard from PulsePoint's CEO, Sloan Gaon, on this point:“President-elect Trump will need to understand the real issues that we face as a country, and address them fairly.  As a global ad-tech company, [we think] tax reform, regulatory compliance, and healthcare are areas that need to be reformed immediately by President-elect Trump, as most didn’t consider the online environment on which we run our businesses today,” Gaon told RTBlog via email. “Most importantly, we need to transform our schools so that we keep our competitive edge in a more global marketplace.” 

Jordan Hoffner, CEO of Salon.com, weighed in on why the media and political polling failed: The reason why the media and the polls missed this so badly is because an echo chamber strategy doesn't work. It's not accurate and doesn't give a 360-degree viewpoint. Polls and prognostications are a combination of data, assumptions, and opinion,” Hoffner told RTBlog via email. “When the assumptions and the data are wrong—which they were in this case—this is what happens.”

Hoffner tied his views about polls and predictive data to a knock on comScore and Nielsen: “For instance, companies like comScore and Nielsen just provide panel surveys with extrapolations; they don't take into account real data. The scientific method around these kinds of institutions is broken, and their data collection process doesn’t work.”

He cited the example of Google Analytics reporting that Salon.com has two-times more unique users than what comScore reports. Further, he said that Nielsen’s television data is also “an extrapolation that ultimately doesn't accurately measure audience, which people have been saying for years. These numbers are so different because of the way they’re collecting data—garbage in, garbage out. There's been too much reliance on these institutions, and we need to call into question the methods being used. Focusing in on only the folks who have the largest audiences doesn't necessarily give you the same results that you want.”

Hoffner added: Prominent pollsters and data gurus for this election were way off. Their polls were wrong, and the reason why they were wrong is that they pulled data from other people's polls, which weren't even right to begin with. This is like the political version of the New York Giants beating the New England Patriots the first time around in the Super Bowl. The Patriots were undefeated and the best team on paper, but the fact of the matter is, they had a tough time protecting Tom Brady in the pocket. So the Giants’ Michael Strahan and the best sack team in the league came in and won the game. Same thing for this election.”

VIEW now

Supercharge your content marketing

Request a Demo

Recommended READING

SIGN UP FOR INSIGHTS IN YOUR INBOX

Thank you! Your submission has been received!

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form

News & Insights