There has been significant condemnation of pollsters after the outcome of the United States Presidential Election, and certainly the exit polls in some states were quite wacky to say the least (misleading me, and many others, to think Hillary Clinton had won fairly comfortably).
However, to me the main flaw lay with the media narrative, which proved to be utterly wrong.
Apparently numerous groups, from women to Latinos, were going to punish Trump and win it for Clinton. That simply did not happen.
What actually happened was a perfectly normal Presidential Election. As usual, after two terms of one party in the Oval Office, there was a swing to the other party (enough to put it in). The swing was pretty even across all ethnic groups – Hispanics were more likely to vote Republican for President in 2016 than 2012 just the same way whites or blacks were. Clinton of course secured a greater comparative share of the female vote, but Democratic candidates almost always do. It was all quite normal.
Furthermore, every single state which had a Senate Election voted the same way for Senate as it did for President. This was in fact the first time this had ever happened. In other words, Republicans voted for the Republican slate, and Democrats for the Democratic slate. It was almost abnormally normal.
In the end, therefore, there was no shock about the winner – or, at least, there would not have been had the pundits, chattering classes and media not come up with an “assumed narrative” of what difference the candidate would make.
Oh, and by the way, if there is one thing more criminal than getting it wrong before the election, it is getting it wrong afterwards! Not all the votes are counted yet. Trump will, in fact, outpoll Romney; and Clinton, in fact, will not fall far short of Obama. Even now, there are “assumed narratives” floating about the Internet based on false totals.
The pollsters themselves can be affected by “assumed narratives”. The blame for missing the essential normality of the outcome does not rest primarily with them (even though those exit polls were seriously crazy…!)