LA Times Issues Caveat with Poll Showing Trump Leading Clinton

The Los Angeles Times on Wednesday published an analysis of their 2016 USC Dornsife /LA Times Presidential Election Poll, to remind that GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s lead in their “Election Forecast” poll for several consecutive days does not mean that he has a strong chance of victory on November 8th.

“Although he trails in nearly all national surveys and polls of most battleground states, Donald Trump still has a potential route to victory, albeit a difficult one that would require him to coax many people who sat out the last election to vote this time around, the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Daybreak tracking poll finds, wrote David Lauter, the chief of the paper’s Washington bureau.

The crucial hedge is “nearly all national polls,” because the paper’s own paper clearly shows Trump leading Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Of course, this and other national polls measure popular support, not the state-by-state Electoral College tally, which actually decides the occupant of the White House.

The “Daybreak” poll is really a series of daily polls with roughly 3,000 eligible voters with new results posted every morning beginning July 10. In the Aug. 30 results, Trump leads the Democratic nominee Clinton with 45.3 percent to her 41.9 percent. The Republican has led in 28 of the daily polls compared to 21 days when Clinton was in the lead.

Lauter said, “The existence of a bloc of disaffected voters large enough to potentially swing the election Trump’s way is the main finding from an analysis of the first eight weeks of the daily tracking poll.”

In Lauter’s analysis, Trump’s only chance at winning is actually exposing weaknesses in his own paper’s polling:

The key group driving that result are people who sat out the 2012 election but say they plan to vote this year. Trump, who’s due to give a major speech on immigration Wednesday, leads among them in the poll. He trails Clinton among those who voted four years ago or were too young to do so. The design of the Daybreak poll means it reflects, more strongly than some other surveys, the views of those who didn’t vote before but say they will this year. As a result, the poll presents something of a best-case scenario for Trump — one in which he succeeds in getting large numbers of previous nonvoters to cast ballots for him.

Democratic pollster Pat Caddell told Breitbart News Lauter’s article was a confusing read in the context of the Daybreak Poll, but it makes sense in the context of trying to fit in with the establishment.

“They did it because of conventional wisdom and all their friends telling them: ‘No, no, no, there is no way Trump can win,’ that’s why they did it,” he said.

“The article looks like he was trying to do a CYA,” he said. CYA is a common slang for protecting oneself.

Caddell said despite the article, the poll itself has great merit.

The University of Southern California and The Los Angeles Times have contributed to how people understand the 2016 election cycle, he said.

“I admire their taking a new approach,” he said. “They are devoting a lot of resources to what they are doing and it shows a creativity–and they might be more right than they think they are.”

In addition to the Election Forecast poll, there are 15 separate polls broken down into different characteristics, and Trump leads in 10 of the 15.


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