Pollsters May Have Dems’ Lead in VA-GOV Wrong. Here’s Why.

By NTK Staff | 11.06.2017 @2:01pm
Pollsters May Have Dems’ Lead in VA-GOV Wrong. Here’s Why.

As Virginians prepare to head to the voting booths on Tuesday, recent polls in the state’s governor race, on their face, indicate that Democrat Ralph Northam will pull out a close win over Republican Ed Gillespie. But many pollsters are committing the same errors that led to Donald Trump’s unexpected win over Hillary Clinton, according […]

As Virginians prepare to head to the voting booths on Tuesday, recent polls in the state’s governor race, on their face, indicate that Democrat Ralph Northam will pull out a close win over Republican Ed Gillespie. But many pollsters are committing the same errors that led to Donald Trump’s unexpected win over Hillary Clinton, according to The New York Times.

In Virginia, these polling errors could lead to a surprising finish. Several polls with a Northam lead have vastly oversampled voters with a college degree, approaching a 100-percent increase over the proper proportion for the Democratic-leaning demographic, the Times reported:

The disparity can be extreme. Sixty-six percent of likely voters were listed as college graduates in the latest Christopher Newport University survey of Virginia, well above the range of 49 percent to 52 percent in Upshot estimates. Mr. Northam led by six points in the Christopher Newport University poll. A Gravis poll, which showed Mr. Northam ahead by five points, had four-year college graduates at 60 percent of the electorate. A tied Roanoke poll had the college-educated share of the electorate at 57 percent.

According to Virginia’s state government, only about 37 percent of its citizens had earned a college degree in 2015, meaning that pollsters could be nearly doubling the demographic.

The Virginia counties with the highest percentage of college-educated voters went for Hillary Clinton in 2016, while counties with a lower percentage overwhelmingly went for Trump.

In addition to the biased polls, Northam has seemingly stumbled at every turn in the final weeks of the campaign. One progressive group described his campaign as “racist,” and the candidate approved an ad that implied his opponent would run down minority children.

The polling error could indicate that Gillespie will shock Northam on Tuesday, much like Trump upset Clinton to seize the presidency last year.

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