Mitchell: polls still valuable to election process despite inaccuracies

- Clinton voters thought they had this election, at least according to what all the major polls were predicting.

But, as we now know, many of those polls were off, including our FOX 2 Mitchell Poll. Steve Mitchell, CEO of Mitchell Research and Communications, joined us in studio to explain what went wrong with so many of the polls.

"Here in Michigan, there were five or six polls conducted in the week before the election. The average victory margin was 3.4% for Hillary Clinton, and only one had Trump winning," Mitchell says. "Polling is much more difficult with this era of no more land lines, more people on cell phones."

Mitchell says his team experimented with a new way of reaching out to 18-45 year olds. He says they put in geofences to send messages to their movile devices.

About 1,000 people were interviewed. He says about 350 of those people were reached through their new technique. Mitchell says their team has to complete about 50,000 dials to get the number of interviews they need. Mitchell is confident, still, that people always answer his questions truthfully.

"The idea that there were "hidden voters" out there that were supporting Donald Trump, I don't think they were hidden, I just don't think that we did as good a job of weighing it geographically," he says.

Still, Mitchell believes polls still help the political process overall.

"When we go to a basketball game, we can't keep track of all the baskets going in and out. So, we look at the scor board. What polling does is provide a scoreboard. And, so, if we're off by 5 or 6%, that's a lot. But, it still give us a real good idea of where the race is going to go, otherwise we don't know if it's going to be 30 points one way or a dead heat, as it turned out in Michigan," he says.

"A lot happened between that last poll on Sunday night and Election Day," he says, citing visits from President Obama and several members of the Trump family.

"Our job is to get it right and we didn't get it right, and we just have to work to try to get it better next time." 

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