This AI pollster has predicted the chances of a win by Biden or Trump
TORONTO -- Polly Pollster, the artificial intelligence pollster that correctly predicted the Liberal’s minority win in the 2019 Canadian election, has found that U.S. President Donald Trump has a slim chance of winning the White House this time around.
Using social media data to predict how people’s online behavior and sentiment predicts their real-world actions, the AI pollster predicts that Trump has a less than eight per cent chance at winning the Nov. 3 election.
In fact, if Polly’s predictions are correct, the president’s only hope lies in a credible treatment or vaccine for COVID-19.
“Vice President Biden is far ahead of Trump,” Erin Kelly, CEO of Advanced Symbolics Inc., told CTV News Channel Saturday.
“The one thing that Polly did see, based on the two debates, is if by chance there is a credible vaccine or treatment for COVID in the next week – and President Trump alluded that he might have something – that would really be his only hope at this point.”
Polly is not a traditional pollster. The artificial intelligence system, built by the Ottawa-based startup, scrapes public data from social media networks to predict election outcomes.
“She follows the same methodology as traditional pollsters in that she gets a representative sample of the population, but, in this case, she’s doing it on social media,” Kelly explained.
The result? A much bigger sample size, Kelly says, along with the unique ability to eliminate bias.
“In this case we have 300,000 Americans, and we can study them through the whole length of the election to see what changes their opinion and what affects their vote,” she said.
“She sees what people are reading, what they’re exposed to, what they like, what they don’t like. She sees a lot more [than traditional pollsters] and she’s not soliciting people for this information. People don’t know that they’re the sample.”
Kelly notes that traditional surveys and groups are limited by response bias, which causes people to provide answers that are not always a true indicator of their true feelings. Using randomized social media data eliminates that bias.
Polly has already earned herself a track record for success in predicting election outcomes.
She accurately predicted a Liberal Party minority government with 77 per cent confidence during last year’s Canadian election and that Britain would vote to leave the European Union in June 2016.
Polly also predicted Trump’s victory in the 2016 U.S. election.
“She can attribute certain issues to changes in votes. She sees not only what people engage in, but also what things affect their vote and what do not,” Kelly said.
Two weeks ago, Biden’s lead over Trump grew to 10 points after holding steady at seven points for weeks. Last week, Biden’s lead inched a few decimal points higher, but stayed at 10.
Since then there has been some small but noticeable changes. Biden continues to hold a 9.2-point lead, according to FiveThirtyEight, while RealClearPolitics — which had Biden up by 9.4 points last week — now gives him a 8.1 point lead.
For context, Hillary Clinton was leading Trump nationally this time in 2016 by 6.1 points.
For the latest national polling numbers and key state races, check out CTVNews.ca's new U.S. election 2020 poll tracker, which pulls in new polling numbers every day.
- With files from CTV News’ Graham Slaughter