Every latest shift in the polls is news. But it shouldn’t be

May 19, 2016 6:01 AM

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Every latest shift in the polls is news. But it shouldn’t be

Preelection polls jump all over the place. Sometimes Hillary Clinton’s ahead by 20 points, other times she and Donald Trump are nearly tied. Jumping polls can make for frenzied reporting, but much of this is just noise.

Conventional wisdom states that the polls are a “random walk,” so that the current state of the polls is the best predictor of the future. But this is not the case. Polls fluctuate, and when the latest poll is much different from what came before, we’re likely to see a bounce back — not because of a...

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