Now then, the Real Clear Politics average of polls predicted a 3.3-point win for Hillary. That was off by exactly three points.
In 538 land, it is not that the polls were wrong. It was that Trump "overperformed."
In Utah, he "overperformed" by 8.5 points.
In Ohio, he "overperformed" by 6.6 points.
In Wisconsin, he "overperformed" by 6.4 points. That shifted a prediction of a loss to a victory.
In Iowa, he "overperformed" by 6.2 points.
In Pennsylvania, he "overperformed" by 4.9 points. That shifted a prediction of a loss to a victory.
In North Carolina, he "overperformed" by 4.5 points. That shifted a prediction of a loss to a victory.
In Michigan, he "overperformed" by 4.3 points. That shifted a prediction of a loss to a victory.
In Florida, he "overperformed" by 1.9 points. That shifted a prediction of a loss to a victory.
With the exception of North Carolina (which Romney won) the six states where an "overperformance" shifted a loss to a win were all carried by Obama four years ago. Obama also carried Ohio where Trump also "overperformed."
Those six Obama states that Trump took won it for Trump. He needed each one to push the size of his victory in the Electoral College to the point where it was so decisive no one could disagree or challenge that result. You would have to go to court to flip at least three of them in order to steal the election.
“We may be looking at a four-point or so national miss – which as noted in the past by FiveThirtyEight is not an insane level of error, but it is real error and the public’s right to question polls is justified,” said Nick Gourevitch of Global Strategy Group told 538.
If a three- or four-point error is acceptable then why bother worrying about polls? I didn't. I arbitrarily declared them all to be wrong and told readers to believe only the ones that agreed with their beliefs. Positive reinforcement made the lives of my readers better.
By the way, the Los Angeles Times poll I kept using turned out to be a load of crap, but it got one thing right.
It predicted Trump would win the popular vote!
Uh wait. He didn't.
But he won the presidency anyway.
Of course readers know I predicted Trump would take Ohio and therefore the presidency (as has been the case from Lincoln in 1860 to Obama in 2012 with the lone exception of JFK in 1960).
Bonus: Hillary's failure to take Pennsylvania meant it is still a fact that no Democrat has been elected president without Pennsylvania since Truman in 1948.
I go by history, because history rocks.
(Ear worm alert! Ear worm alert! Ear worm alert!)
History shows again and again, how nature points out the folly of polls.