While UK pollsters got it wrong over Brexit and the 2015 general election when another coalition was predicted (was it really only last year?), I had assumed that US polling techniques would be a little more sophisticated then ours. Yet astonishingly, the US opinion polls also called the wrong result.
While a number of issues will have been at play including protest votes (almost certainly a factor in the Brexit vote), it seems that voters don't always vote the way they say they are going to. In the UK, we have the "shy tory" phenomenon whereby voters declare they are not planning to vote for the "nasty" party but do the exact opposite in the polling booth. As Harry de Quetteville points out in today's Daily Telegraph, perhaps US voters are also happier pretending they are voting on the Left than the Right.
The only thing we can safely predict is that if voters continue to hide their right-wing tendencies, the opinion polls will continue to get it wrong.
Finally, what does this extraordinary scenario teach PR and communications professionals? To always prepare for the least expected.
Why did polls get it so wrong? Because politics as we knew it is over HARRY DE QUETTEVILLE 9 NOVEMBER 2016 • 1:27PM Like everyone else in the prediction game, Mr Luntz was served up a feast of his own words to consume over the next few hours. First came the odd unnerving slice of reality. Then came a few massive helpings of humble pie. One by one, all their predictions, all their forecasts, their obsessively mined data, their experience at calling previous elections fell apart. It all counted for nothing. Trump was demolishing the pollsters, just as he demolished his rivals to be Republican nominee, just as he - at the time of writing - looked set to demolish Hillary Clinton's chances of assuming the presidency.