CEPEX Pennsylvania Poll - Vindicated Through Trump Win

CEPEX Pennsylvania poll conducted in late August vindicated by historic Trump victory.

​​​​Center for Excellence in Project Execution (CEPEX) conducted an Independent, Unaffiliated, Unbiased Poll in late August this year, and reported a 5% lead for Donald Trump with a 7% error margin. The results in the election show Trump won Pennsylvania by 1.3% (nytimes.com, Nov 9 2016, 1:48 AM ET).

Subsequent to the release of the CEPEX poll results back in August, there were many questions raised by online commentators regarding the veracity of the claims, regarding the intentions of the poll and even the competence of the pollsters. Indeed CEPEX published a full disclosure and provided responses to common questions in keeping with the strict ethics and transparency which have come to be the hallmark of the Center for Excellence in Project Execution.

The failure of the polling and political commentary specialists regarding a Trump victory, lies in critical error of abandoning the scientific principles of inquiry, fact finding and not allowing the facts to point towards the conclusion - what ever that may be. This was the reason why Pollsters and Political Commentators completely missed the Pennsylvania trend towards Trump.


The 2016 Presidential Election will be remembered, among many things, as one where real data and facts were hidden behind a fog of subjective opinions, preconceived notions and rejection of objective pursuit of facts. Thus it is of no surprise that even popular news sources like Drudge and Brietbart were labeled as 'Alternate Universe' by most pundits and commentators. 

CEPEX Center for Excellence in Project Execution, a Canadian Management Consulting company, decided to address the information gap by embarking on their own fact finding poll in one of the key battleground states of the election. The CEPEX principals are experienced Professional Engineers, and therefore perfectly capable of putting together the poll by following the key steps:

1. Identify the battleground state which would be key to deciding a close election.

2. Plan the scientific polling methodology to deliver results within a limited budget and schedule.

3. Implement the execution plan, verify results and communicate.

It is well known that Engineers have the technical capability in not just basic but advanced statistics, therefore planning a scientific poll is not limited only to companies which specialize in polling. In this particular instance, the information gap left by the more established players provided an opportunity to demonstrate CEPEX ability to plan and execute special projects.

At the time the poll was conducted, there were few, if any, comparable polls available for Pennsylvania. Further, the conventional wisdom dictated that Donald Trump had no chance whatsoever in a traditionally Democrat state. Many professionals in the field of polling fell into the 'human error' trap - finding only what they expected to see - which was Clinton leading by a wide margin.

Another reason why the traditional pollsters were unable to capture the clear trend towards Trump can be attributed to a 'Trust Deficit'. Without going into the reasons for the 'Trust Deficit', it is more informative to review the CEPEX experience while conducting the poll in August. The Pennsylvania poll was designed to be a telephone poll and went out to phone numbers across the entire state. Many of the numbers contacted went to answering machines, which was expected. What was quite unexpected were return calls from people who missed the telephone poll, and wanted to participate in the poll. Since strict methodology was followed, none of those call-backs were entered into the poll data. The return call rate was above the expected rate, which prompted the question to the caller - why take the trouble to call back. After having numerous such discussion with callers, the underlying theme emerged.

When opinion polled, people want to report their honest opinions, but only to organizations/companies which they believe to be non-partisan, unaffiliated and independent. Pollsters need to understand this basic premise and need to address the 'Trust Deficit' - to be able to do accurate polling, and draw meaningful results from the polls. 

CEPEX Poll versus Actual Election Results

  • 5% Trump Lead (7% Margin of Error,2 person contest) versus 1.3% (4 way contest)
  • "Strong support among women" was identified by the poll
  • "undecided voters holding the key"

About The Center of Excellence in Project Execution 
Based in Calgary, Canada, the Center for Excellence in Project Execution is a boutique management consultancy serving oil sands, oil & gas sectors providing niche consulting services covering cost reduction, project management, special projects and continuous improvement.   

On the web: www.projectexecution.consulting


Parth Mukherjee, P.Eng, PMP
Expert Principal
Center for Excellence in Project Execution, Calgary, Canada
1-403-397-8469 / parth@projectexecution.consulting

Anirudh Kumar, P.Eng
Principal, Project & Construction Specialist
Center for Excellence in Project Execution
1-403-397-8765  / kumar@projectexecution.consulting

Source: CEPEX Center for Excellence in Project Execution

About Center for Excellence in Project Execution (CEPEX)

Center for Excellence in Project Execution (CEPEX) is a management consulting & analysis firm focused on achieving Cost Reduction in the Oil & Gas and Mining sectors.

Center for Excellence in Project Execution (CEPEX)
3553 31 Street Northwest
Calgary, Alberta
T2L 2K7

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