WASHINGTON – Republican Donald Trump shocked the political world Tuesday to be elected the nation’s 45th president, and in doing so delivered the type of upset that hasn’t been seen in America since perhaps 1948, when Harry Truman defied the polls to defeat Thomas E. Dewey.
But, how? After all, even Ronald Reagan led Jimmy Carter in the final poll just prior to the 1980 election – an election that has drawn comparisons to 2016.
Here are five takeaways:
1. People wanted change. According to exit polls – which surveyed 24,537 people – a plurality of 39 percent said someone who “can bring change” was the most important quality in a candidate. Among that group, 83 percent supported Trump. The 39 percent is even larger than the 2008 Obama landslide, when 34 percent cited “change” as the most important quality.
2. There was a “Bradley effect” in polling. A significant number of people apparently lied to pollsters – or refused to say who they supported, perhaps due to the mainstream media making it taboo to back Trump. Democrat Hillary Clinton led in the final RealClearPolitics.com polling average by just over 3 points, but – when the voters were tabulated – was virtually tied with Trump.