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Predicting the unpredictable

UK researchers are shaking up the science of election forecasting

While US pollsters were confidently predicting a Hillary Clinton victory in 2016, a PhD student at the University of Oxford was bracing himself for a very different outcome. On election night itself, political scientist Vuk Vuković—now the co-founder of data company Oraclum Intelligence Systems Ltd—found himself surrounded by a gaggle of 30 prematurely jubilant Hillary supporters in Nuffield College. 

“All my friends were saying: ‘You’re a smart guy, but you don’t know American politics’”, he tells Research Fortnight. “So I said: ‘Let’s just see what happens’. I stayed up till 5am watching Florida going to Trump, followed by North Carolina and Pennsylvania. I didn’t wait for Michigan.”

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