With less than a week until Election Day, the latest New York Times/CBS news poll shows 45 percent of likely voters supporting Hillary Clinton and 42 percent supporting Donald Trump. But other polls reflect a much closer race. What explains such vast difference in results? In this hour, we look at the science of polling and how polls ultimately do (or don’t) reflect results at the ballot box.

More Information:

Polls Are Tightening, But Are They Accurate? 4 November,2016Mina Kim

Henry Brady, dean, Goldman School of Public Policy and professor of political science and public policy, UC Berkeley
Jon Cohen, senior vice president, survey research and chief research officer, SurveyMonkey
Ron Elving, senior editor and correspondent on the Washington desk, NPR News

  • John

    I am in a state of disbelief that the FBI is trying to sabotage the election for Trump.

    • Another Mike

      After years of hearing “It’s not the crime, it’s the coverup,” I am perturbed to learn that when it comes to Hillary, it’s neither the crime, nor the coverup, but the attempts to reveal her apparent malfeasance in office that are somehow wrong.

      • jurgispilis

        And what is her “her apparent malfeasance in office”?
        Let me propose the following collection of ideas – simply my personal analysis – with which you need not agree nor accept – and which is neither complete nor totally correct.
        Nobody’s perfect. Bill and Hillary’s relationship is based solely on mutual ambition. It is a marriage of convenience. They needed a wholesome appearance in order to succeed in politics and power. Bill, an addicted sexual predator and heavy drinker, needed to cover his tracks constantly, to maintain the fraud; Hillary, a lesbian sexual predator and heavy drinker too, also had to conceal and cover up her socially unacceptable behavior.
        Huma Abiden, also a lesbian, entered into her marriage with the Weiner for the same convenience and ambition for power. Her lack of affection, drove him to seek satisfaction in ways that got him in trouble.

        Thus this ‘cat that ate the canary’ look. The often funny, strange, and odd responses to direct and seemingly innocent questions. These many Clinton surprises all along the way. Yes, they are ‘covering up’, but they are not covering up the main crime, but rather periphery crimes. It’s indicative of a single unifying syndrome of some sort, on which I am not quite able to put my finger. Maybe it’s a mental illness.

        If you can put a name on something, put a label on it, it becomes much easier to accept it. Oh. Barney Frank – he’s gay – that’s why he has a roommate operating a homosexual escort service out of his apartment. Or J Edgar Hoover, he wouldn’t prosecute the mafia, because they’re blackmailing him. etc.


    Whether it is the vulgar loose mouth hatemonger thug candidate Donald Trump ,or the extreme hawkish Neocon, Wall Street Hilary Clinton, this election end up choosing the lesser of the evil, you decide.


    The blatant interference of the election by FBI director James Comey is wrong, unrepresented,and totally against democratic rules,and may lead to disastrous result to us all.

    • jurgispilis

      Dunno, but if it has been uncovered that that an Al-Qaeda operative has been discovered having State Department classified emails on her personal computer, I would want someone to raise a red flag. If the FBI director lets such a thing slide, that would amount to criminal dereliction of duty IMHO.

  • Sean Dennehy

    This has been the year of bad polling on important matters, from Brexit to the Colombia Peace Deal. We may very well have a Trump victory.

  • Noelle

    I recommend these websites:

    But also, all that matters in our system is who gets at least 270 electoral votes.

  • DBritt

    Was on hold but the call dropped. Some statements from the guests have been really unimpressive. First, the idea that Clinton has an advantage in the electoral college relative to popular vote is just plain wrong. Second, the statement that a US polling miss is less likely than Brexit because Trump faces 5 or 6 “coin flips” is patently ridiculous. These are not isolated coin flips. Really bad punditry on Forum today.

    • Bill_Woods

      Right. 538 puts the odds at about 2–1. That’s less than two (independent) coin flips.

  • Gee Whiz

    I actually enjoyed phone surveys when they were a twice a month occurrence. Now that the calls are 4-6 times a day, I’ve stopped picking up my phone and re-upped my Do Not Call registry.

  • Another Mike

    I may be getting polled and not even know it. If I answer the phone and hear silence, followed by the noise of a boiler room, I conclude some sort of telemarketer is calling me, and hang up.
    As I understand it, the phone bankers only want to talk to live people, so the system waits to connect a phone banker to the called party when the called party answers. But I don’t want to have my time wasted, either, so when I realize a telemarketer is calling, I hang up.

  • Chris K

    You can opt in to survey monkey. I just signed up. Chris I Oakland


  • Curious

    The MSM are freaking out.

  • Termie

    Henry Brady was at the forefront of the movement toward open source election systems !! A million hats tipped http://www.cavo-us.org


Mina Kim

Mina Kim is KQED News’ evening anchor and the Friday host of Forum. She reports on a wide range of issues affecting the Bay Area and interviews newsmakers, local leaders and innovators.

Mina started her career in public radio at KQED as an intern with Pacific Time. When the station began expanding its local news coverage in 2010, she became a general assignment reporter, then health reporter for The California Report. Mina’s award-winning stories have included on-the-scene reporting of the 2014 Napa earthquake and a series on gun violence in Oakland.

Her work has been recognized by the Radio Television Digital News Association, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Asian American Journalists Association.

Mina grew up in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Oak Park, CA. She lives in Napa.

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