We can't be too hard on the polling industry. Ok so they got it wrong. But this Huffington Post article should never be forgotten. It is a monument of arrogance, incompetence, false assumptions and bias.
In retrospect it is actually hilarious to read. They weren't just wrong about Trump, but wrong about almost everything they predicted—and they predicted a lot. Confidently. Like that Hillary would win at a 98.2% confidence level. Yes. 98.2%.
So here is a little rundown of the various claims, starting from the top:
"The HuffPost presidential forecast model gives Democrat Hillary Clinton a 98.2 percent chance of winning the presidency. Republican Donald Trump has essentially no path to an Electoral College victory."
WRONG - Trump won
"And Clinton should fairly easily hold onto Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania."
WRONG - Trump Won PA, WI and we are still waiting on MI where he is ahead.
"Florida, Nevada and North Carolina have leaned toward Clinton in the polling averages. The forecast in recent weeks, along with the strength of early voting numbers, makes it seem very likely that these will stay with her. All three states are more than 80-percent likely to swing Democratic."
WRONG - Trump won FL & NC and narrowly lost NV
"The Senate is likely to shift to a Democratic majority, with 51 seats, or 50 seats and Tim Kaine as the vice presidential tie-breaker. The HuffPost model says there’s a 66 percent chance Democrats will get 51 or more seats, and a 25 percent chance the chamber ends up with each party at 50 seats. Republicans have had 54 seats to Democrats’ 46 since the 2014 midterm elections, but Democrats might get just enough seats to retake control. "
WRONG - Republicans retained the Senate
"Indiana’s Senate race between former Sen. Evan Bayh (D) and Republican candidate Todd Young has been eventful...The HuffPost model still gives Bayh a sizable lead ― and an 88 percent chance of winning."
WRONG - Young won
"Pennsylvania Democratic challenger Katie McGinty has steadily increased her polling lead on incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey . She’s 3 points or 4 points ahead of Toomey, and has a 97 percent chance of winning, according to HuffPost’s model.
WRONG - Toomey won
They weren't just wrong about #Trump, @HuffPo was wrong about almost everything they predicted—@Jordan_M_Wilson
The Wisconsin race features a rematch between Sen. Ron Johnson (R) and former Sen. Russ Feingold (D). Johnson beat Feingold in the Republican wave of the 2010 midterm elections, but Feingold is likely to retake the seat. His lead has shrunk in recent weeks, but the Democrat is still leading by more than 4 points, giving Feingold a 98 percent chance of winning.
WRONG - Johnson won
All of this is compounded by the fact that the Huffington Post actually wrote additional blog articles castigating the rare pollster who was willing to give Trump a 1 in 3 shot (like Nate Silver). The headline hilariously reads:
"Nate Silver Is Unskewing Polls — All Of Them — In Trump’s Direction"
The article itself includes such rubes as:
"Nate Silver’s 538 model is giving Donald Trump a heart-stopping 35 percent chance of winning as of this weekend."
"He ratcheted the panic up to 11 on Friday with his latest forecast, tweeting out, “Trump is about 3 points behind Clinton ― and 3-point polling errors happen pretty often.”
AND (This one is truly incredible)
"By monkeying around with the numbers like this, Silver is making a mockery of the very forecasting industry that he popularized."
AND (Notice the prima facie commitment to the concept that the models cannot be wrong)
"I get why Silver wants to hedge. It’s not easy to sit here and tell you that Clinton has a 98 percent chance of winning. Everything inside us screams out that life is too full of uncertainty, that being so sure is just a fantasy. But that’s what the numbers say. What is the point of all the data entry, all the math, all the modeling, if when the moment of truth comes we throw our hands up and say, hey, anything can happen. If that’s how we feel, let’s scrap the entire political forecasting industry."
"By the time he’s done adjusting the “trend line,” Clinton has lost 0.2 points and Trump has gained 1.7 points. An adjustment of below 2 points may not seem like much, but it’s enough to throw off his entire forecast, taking a comfortable 4.6 point Clinton lead and making it look like a nail-biter."
Oh HuffPo. Your forecasts will forever stand the test of time…. as a case study in polling arrogance.