Home Public AffairsPolitics Part I: Why 2016 Polling Wasn’t a Crystal Ball

Part I: Why 2016 Polling Wasn’t a Crystal Ball


Polls are not predictions; they are snapshots that are misused as predictions by pundits and poll compilers in the media. My system, the Keys to the White House follows historical patterns of victory and defeat for parties holding the White House.

The Keys are based on the thesis that presidential elections are primarily judgments on the performance of incumbent party and they look at such big picture events as midterm elections, nomination contests, economic trends, scandal, social unrest, and foreign successes and failures. The Keys ignore polls and campaigning and have accurately predicted every presidential election from 1984 to 2016.

Allan Lichtman, Distinguished Professor of History, American University

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