Over the past week, there was a troubling development for the establishment: Trump was soaring in the polls. In fact, in the widely watched, Reuters/IPSOS poll, for the first time Trump had taken an inexcusable 1 point lead following the Republican National convention.
So, as we reported last night, something had to be done. And something was done: Reuters "tweaked" its polling methodology.
As Reuters explained, "in a presidential campaign notable for its negativity, the option of “Neither” candidate appears to be an appealing alternative, at least to participants in the Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll. Many voters on both sides have been ambivalent in their support for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump, complicating the task of the pollsters trying to track the race. That sentiment may help explain an apparent skew that recently emerged in the Reuters/Ipsos poll results. Given the choice, a relatively large group of voters opted for “Neither/Other” candidate compared with other major polls, leading to an underreporting of several percentage points for one or other of the two major contenders at times in the race."
As a result, Reuters/Ipsos is amending the wording of the choice and eliminating the word “Neither,” bringing the option in line with other polls.
Here is the real reason for the methodology change: according to Reuters "the inclusion of the word “Neither” is capturing Soft Trump supporters who, if given such an option, prefer not to make a choice. Here it is important to note that the soft supporter phenomenon also affects Clinton, but to a much lesser degree."
As a result, the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll - pre Friday evening - had Trump 40.2%, Clinton 38.5%, but, on a "pro forma" basis, eliminating "Neither" from the "Neither/Other" answer produced a different result. In that case, Clinton was ahead, 40% to 36%.
In other words, the real reason for the "tweak" was to push Hillary back in the lead simply due to a change in the question phrasing methodology.
With the first new poll under the new polling "approach" due to be released last night, we predicted that it would show a dramtic rebound for Hillary, just as Trump was picking up steam, and in doing so changing the entire frontrunner narrative from the ground up.
Sure enough, here are the results of the "revised" poll released on Friday night.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton held a 6- percentage-point lead over Republican rival Donald Trump, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll with new wording that was released on Friday, the day after she formally accepted her party's nomination for the Nov. 8 election.
Nearly 41 percent of likely voters favor Clinton, 35 percent favor Trump, and 25 percent picked "Other," according to the new July 25-29 online poll of 1,043 likely voters, which overlapped with the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. The poll has a credibility interval of 4 percentage points.
The presidential tracking poll reflects a slight change of wording from previous surveys, replacing the “Neither/Other” option given to respondents with just “Other.” An internal review had found the word “Neither” has, at times, siphoned support away from one or the other candidate.
Or rather, it has "siphoned" support from Hillary to Trump, something which the "internal review" had clearly noticed, and promptly stopped.
Thank of it as "seasonally adjusted", or simpler yet, "non-GAAP" polling. From Reuters:
The pro forma, or "slightly revised" Reuters/Ipsos poll goes back only one week, and all prior data appears to have been eliminated.
And that, dear readers, is how one tumbles from a 1-point lead to a 6-point loss in 3 days thanks to the miracle of a polling "adjustment." Because if it works to "boost" GDP, why shouldn't it work for Hillary as well?