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Trumpettes Vote Multiple Times In Fake Online Debate Polls


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Anyone who watched Monday night’s presidential debate knows that Donald Trump got creamed.

He needed to prove to undecided voters (and people who won’t tune in except for the debate) that he wasn’t crazy and unstable—and he failed miserably.

Which is the consensus from virtually all media pundits, GOP consultant Frank Luntz’s focus group, and the few scientific polls that have popped up since.

But that’s not what Trump supporters are saying, because they create their own reality. As the Daily Dot reports:


Donald Trump supporters artificially manipulated the results of online polls to create a false narrative that the Republican nominee won the first presidential debate on Monday night.


The efforts originated from users of the pro-Trump Reddit community
message boards, which bombarded around 70 polls, including those launched by
, and CNBC.

And, presto! You suddenly see a bunch of online polls that claim—despite any objective measure—Trump “won” the debate. Even though one can vote in these unscientific survey hundreds of times.

It was only a matter of time before Trump himself started repeating this trope. After blaming the microphone for his poor debate performance, he soon started crediting all the fake polls:

I won every poll from last nights Presidential Debate - except for the little watched

Ummm, Donald? First of all, it wasn’t just that CNN poll. Public Policy Polling also says you got your butt kicked.

But more importantly, your supporters don’t get to vote 1,000 times each come November.

Sorry, buddy.

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Donald Trump won the debate -- according to useless website polls that mean nothing

Meanwhile, the scientific polls show Hillary Clinton won the debate.


by German Lopez

Sep 27, 2016

Donald Trump insists he won the presidential debate on Monday night. And to prove it, hes pointing to the polls.


DJT_Headshot_V2_reasonably_small.jpgDonald J. Trump Verified account ‏@realDonaldTrump

Such a great honor. Final debate polls are in - and the MOVEMENT wins! #AmericaFirst #MAGA #ImWithYou http://www.DonaldJTrump.comCtXxhxeWIAAefPB.jpg8:47 AM - 27 Sep 2016


Hillary Clinton also insists she won the debate. And to prove it, she too is pointing to the polls.



Hillary Clinton - Verified account ‏@HillaryClinton #DebateNightCtVLlLdXEAA101t.jpg8:41 PM - 26 Sep 2016


Whats going on here?


The key difference is the kind of poll the candidates are citing. Trump is going on unscientific online polls, which dont have any controls to make sure they are actually representative of American voters. Clintons claim relies on more rigorous scientific polls -- those like CNNs -- that apply controls to try to be representative of US voters.


Because of that, Clintons claim that she won the debate is much more credible. As Huffington Post polling director Ariel Edwards-Levy put it on Twitter, "A poll that does not exert some measure of control over who takes it and how many times they do so is not a poll and you should ignore it."


The difference between unscientific and scientific polls


The polls that Trump is relying on let anyone vote with absolutely zero checks. If youre online at the time and find the poll, you can vote. You dont have to live in America or be a US citizen. And you can vote multiple times --- by reopening a browser tab, going behind an internet proxy, or logging on to a different account.


As an example, you could right now log on to different Twitter accounts to spam down the results of USA Todays poll for whichever candidate you prefer.


This can lead to some very skewed results. For example, if an active online community -- like r/The_Donald, the Reddit community that supports Trump -- gets a bunch of people to vote on a poll (as they did), this can lead to Trump supporters overwhelming the results with a higher percent of Trump supporters than would otherwise be present in a typical sample of American voters. With such a skewed sample, its impossible to take the results seriously -- it turns into a contest over which online community is most enthusiastic about winning unscientific polls, not how US voters feel about who won the debate.


This is how Trump came ahead in a few online polls, including those at Drudge Report, Time magazine, and CNBC.


The polls Clinton is relying on, on the other hand, use statistical controls to make sure the sample isnt so skewed. They try to contact people that match the voting population -- so theyll try to ensure that a certain percent of respondents in the survey are white, black, Latino, Democrat, Republican, and so on. And if they cant reach the right amount of people, theyll sometimes adopt statistical weights to bring up or down a specific group -- so if a survey has too many men, they might try to weigh the womens responses higher.The CNN/ORC poll on Monday night was a scientific one. CNN acknowledged its sample of Democrats was a bit too high -- since this was a poll taken quickly after the debate, the network and its pollster just didn't have time to do better. Still, the win was overwhelmingly for Clinton -- with 62 percent of voters who watched the debate saying that she won versus 27 percent saying the same for Trump.


CNN's poll wasnt the only scientific one to reach this conclusion. Public Policy Polling's post-debate poll found that 51 percent of debate watchers said Clinton won, versus 40 percent who said the same of Trump. So far, CNN and PPPs polls are the only two scientific polls we have.


There are questions about how methodologically rigorous even these scientific polls are, given that theyre done so quickly after the debate. But Nate Silver pointed out on FiveThirtyEight that scientific post-debate polls like CNNs tend to correlate with the longer-term trend in broader polls after debates. There's no reason to think that an unscientific poll would have the same value.


Still, it's impossible to say what the ultimate effect of the debate will be. As Andrew Prokop explained for Vox, debates tend to have a small impact -- but in a very close election, this small impact can be decisive. So we'll just have to wait for the next few weeks of polling to see if the first presidential debate really makes a difference.



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