mlwhiz

Turning data into insights

Donald Trump : Two new Survey Biases

The US elections have got everyone startled. Trump. Seriously. The most powerful man on the entire earth is Donald Trump. Just think about it for a second. The most coveted post in all world and America could not find a better person to fill it? Now to tell you the truth I was not at all surprised to see it happen. I don’t know if America has ever seen this brand of politics, we indians have seen this brand of politics many a times and have suffered a lot because of it.


To put my case forward we have many a examples in our country like Bal Thackeray whose slogan was “Uthao lungi aur bajao pungi” which basically meant send away the south indians back from Mumbai. He was worshipped in Mumbai by the local People for the same and around 1.5 Million people came to attend his funeral. His son Raj Thackeray has the same brand of politics but he wants to send away North Indians. Wow!


Then there are issues of Caste based politics where people like Mulayam Singh and Mayawati would use reservations in India to their advantage to pull the caste vote bank.


Trump Brand of politics was pretty much the same — Divisive. Get people against each other. Now that I think of it Hitler had the same formula. The way this formula works is:

  • Target a minority community by telling other community how its presence is badly effecting them.
  • Promise to eliminate them.
  • Win.


This election could be posed as a study in psyche of a developed nation such as America. America as a nation may call itself inclusive, non sexist, and secular but a Trump win tells that people are two-faced. The one face that they want the world to see and the other they know they are.


The pre election polls all had Hillary in the lead, but surveys forget the one element of Human Nature- the human psyche. How many people that supported trump would openly admit that they would vote for him? They don’t want to be branded sexist, misogynist, racist. But they picked a president which is all three.


This election essentially provided us with two different types of bias that could occur in surveys.


Lie Bias:

People lied in the surveys. That much is certain. To say that they would support Trump was shameful to a lot of people. This bias could be linked to the response Bias in a way but here the people did not lie because they wanted to appease the questioner, they lied to appease themselves.


Undecideds Bias:

The night before the elections the polls stood at 42% Trump, 46% Hillary, 12% Undecided. I would focus on the 12 % here. Where do you think these 12% votes went. This is just a speculation but there is a high chance that the undecideds were not undecideds at all. Most of them wanted to support Trump while keeping it under wraps and not lying. The undecided group proportion was high as compared to other election years. In 2008 and 2012 the undecideds were 4% and 3% respectively. so there is a ~8% increase in number of undecideds, and to what can we attribute that? The only thing that comes to my mind is that the people who were gonna vote trump were calling themselves undecided.


Now I would sincerely thank Mr Trump who put us in such a diabolical situation that provides us with such twisted biases and thereby close my rant.

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