Analysis

A Trump Win Would Deal a Deathblow to Political Polling

If Trump wins, it will be an international sensation; if Clinton wins, it will be by the skin of her teeth.

Hillary Clinton's election night rally the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, U.S., November 8, 2016
REUTERS/Adrees Latif

One thing is already clear; there won’t be a clear-cut winner in Tuesday’s presidential race. Nonetheless, if Donald Trump wins, it will be an international sensation; if Hillary Clinton wins, it will be by the skin of her teeth. But whoever wins, America will be split in two, right down in the middle, in fact right down several middles.

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Trump has quickly secured the red states that traditionally vote Republican, but he is more competitive than expected in battleground states that were expected to quickly fall to Clinton. In states like Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Michigan that were supposed to be firmly in Clinton’s camp, she and Trump were running neck and neck. Virginia, which no one thought was even competitive for Trump, Clinton eventually won by a very slim margin, and even this only according to Fox News. 

But the division of America couldn’t be clearer: white vs. minorities, men vs. women, rural vs. urban, white vs. minorities, educated vs. less educated, blue collar vs. white collar, coastal states vs. inland states and so on. Whoever wins, an election that seems set to be decided by such a slim margin is bound to exacerbate the internal tensions ever more. If Clinton wins, Trump supporters will sincerely believe the elections were rigged. If Trump wins, Democrats will forever assume that it was the undue intervention of the Director of the FBI that gave the election to her rival.

Despite all the talk of the vaunted Democratic organization that would vanquish Trump’s amateurish Election Day preparations, the GOP candidate made up the difference with his supporters’ boundless enthusiasm. His voters came out in droves, as did many of Clinton’s supporters, with the possible exception of African Americans.

A Trump victory would also deal a deathblow to the entire profession of pollsters and political experts. Most of them predicted consistently and confidently that Clinton would win. If she loses, they will need to rethink the entire concept of political polling.