Saturday, December 03, 2016

Letter RE "News Outlets Wonder Where the Predictions Went Wrong," NY Times -- More thoughts on how election '16 deflated my belief in the power of mining social-science big data

I read the recent Times article about election predictions going wrong
with great interest. For me the big loser in the election was not
Clinton (or Trump), but data science -- social science data science, in
particular. The reality is despite all the wonders that we've heard
about how one can do big-data mining on social science data
sets, finding, for instance, highly specific pockets of voters, the
polls were consistently wrong. Consistently, the Times predicted that
Clinton would easily win -- never, in fact, predicting the opposite.
The reality of election day was completely different, with Trump
easily trumping. I do not believe that there was a dramatic reversal
of opinion on the day of the election. The blunt fact is that much of the
earlier polling and associated reporting was inaccurate.

Unpublished letter in response to:

News Outlets Wonder Where the Predictions Went Wrong - The New York Times

Also see: