In 2016, as I was preparing to write my “Why Hillary Will Win” piece, I decided to have my able then-assistant, David Byler (now of Washington Post fame), do a bit of research. His job was to look up the share of the electorate that pollsters were anticipating for whites without college degrees and for African Americans.
What he found put an end to the piece. It seemed a big bet was being placed on 2012 levels of black turnout occurring in 2016 and, more importantly, that pollsters were badly underestimating turnout for whites without college degrees. In previous years, that hadn’t really mattered — whites with and without college degrees voted Republican at roughly the same levels. Underestimating the share of whites without college degrees and overestimating whites with college degrees wouldn’t have mattered in 2012 or 2008, because their votes were fungible.
On a hunch, I went back and looked at the poll errors for 2013-15, and