Pollsters put everyone at ease about Trump by reminding them that pollsters are often wrong

Louis Dor
Tuesday 01 November 2016 15:00
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Picture:(JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

An ABC poll has put Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump one point ahead of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton with one week to go until the election.

The 45-46 per cent result in favour of Trump is largely being attributed to the Clinton email scandal.

The result is a first for the tracking poll since May.

As a result pollsters are getting a little jumpy, and seeking to reassure people that they aren't always right - far from it.

ABC's explanation read:

The one-point Clinton-Trump race overall is well within the survey’s margin of sampling error. Combining the last seven nights - across which results have been very stable - the results flip to 46-45 percent, Clinton-Trump, with .4 percentage point gap. Again, it is not a significant difference.

In short, it's not time to panic. It could be one erroneous survey. Which ABC point out they have a track record in...

Although the election is close at this point, vote preference results a week out are not necessarily predictive of the final result. Mitt Romney was one point up against Barack Obama in comparable tracking poll results in 2012, for example, and John Kerry was one point up against. George Bush a week out in 2004.

It's certainly true that over the course of six previous elections, the poll a week out has predicted two results incorrectly.

People have also pointed out that internal polling tends to be more well-funded, and therefore accurate, than public polling.

There's also something to be said about the accuracy of national polls compared to state polls. It's probably all a fair bit of statistical noise.

Fear not, we'll find out everything next Tuesday.

More: The 13 most 'damning' parts of Hillary Clinton's email scandal

More: Trump should read the letter Bush Snr sent to Bill Clinton to understand what it means to be presidential

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