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Victory Lap for the Much-Maligned USC/L.A. Times Poll

The USC Dornsife/Los Angles Times Daybreak presidential poll, which was widely criticized by the mainstream media for showing Republican Donald Trump consistently ahead of Democrat Hillary Clinton, is taking a victory lap on Wednesday morning, after Trump’s upset win.

The poll claimed all along that it did a better job than other polls of capturing the “shy Trump” electorate — those voters who were going to vote for Trump but were embarrassed to tell pollsters they intended to do so, thanks to media pressure.

David Lauter of the L.A. Times writes:

For most of the last four months, the USC/L.A. Times Daybreak tracking poll has been the great outlier of the 2016 campaign — consistently showing a better result for Donald Trump than other surveys did.

In light of Tuesday’s election returns, the poll now looks like the only major survey to see the wave coming.

Most of the summer and fall, the poll’s results have been about 6 percentage points more favorable to the Republican than the polling averages. As of Tuesday morning, the poll’s final forecast for the election showed Trump leading by a little over 3 points, 46.8% to 43.6%.

The poll’s findings caused dismay — even outrage — among some readers, especially Democrats, who have denounced it and often criticized The Times for running it.

But just as four years ago the poll was one of the few that did not underestimate President Obama’s support, it seems as though it may have been on its own in not underestimating Trump’s.

The poll was attacked specifically for the way it weighted different sections of the population. The New York Times even ran an article about the USA/L.A. Times poll entitled: “How One 19-Year-Old Illinois Man Is Distorting National Polling Averages.”

Lautner concludes that the poll’s success is a sign that “polling needs more, diverse ways to look at public opinion, not fewer.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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