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Polling firm asks two unique questions, forecasts Trump will win again


Another upset

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Donald Trump is building another upset election victory, according to experimental polling from the University of Southern California.

Despite Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's lead in the polls, two polling questions from USC have analysts predicting that Trump will win re-election.

What is the background?

Biden has held a commanding lead over Trump in national polling since the start of the general election season.

Currently, Biden's lead stands at an average of 7.4% nationally, down three points in just two weeks, according to RealClearPolitics. Among top battleground states, Biden's lead is less than 4% on average.

What did the poll find?

To survey which candidate is expected to win an election, pollsters typically gauge voter interest by simply asking respondents for whom they plan to vote; this is known as the "voter intention question."

But the operators of the USC Dornsife Daybreak Poll are asking respondents two additional questions: the "social-circle question" and the "state-winner question," which probes which candidate respondents think will win their state.

The reasoning behind the "social-circle question" is simple, according to USC Dornsife. Asking respondents who they think their social circle will vote for is extremely reliable, the polling institute said. In fact, USC Dornsife has asked the question in five elections — and each time the outcome has been more reliable than the "voter intension question" outcome.

Using these two questions, the pollsters discovered great news for Trump.

From USC Dornsife:

The social-circle question is predicting Biden will win the popular vote, but by a much slimmer margin than what's being predicted by the standard voter intention question — in the USC Dornsife Daybreak Poll and most others — regarding how poll participants themselves plan to vote. When we calculate how many electoral votes each candidate could get based on state level averages of the own-intention and social-circle questions, it's looking like an Electoral College loss for Biden.

Meanwhile, the pollsters said the "state-winner question" indicates an even bigger Electoral College loss for Biden than the "social-circle question."

While it remains to be seen how the polling will turn out this time, final polling in 2016 actually wasn't far off, showing Clinton winning by an average of about 3 points. Clinton won the popular vote by 2.1 points.

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