FAIL: PRWeek’s ‘Survey’ of 22 PR Pros Found ZERO Predictions for Trump

Craig Bannister | December 7, 2016
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The pre-election predictions of communications professionals surveyed by PRWeek proved to be unanimously – and embarrassingly – wrong. Could every PR executive in the U.S. have been so off, or was this a case of media bias in choosing the "experts?”

On Nov. 8, PRWeek published “They're with her: PR execs predict a resounding Clinton victory,” in which it reported the pre-election predictions of 22 communications professionals – not one of whom predicted Donald Trump would win the election. Not only were their predictions wrong, they were embarrassingly wrong, with some apparently more influenced by personal opinion than science.

As a result of the overwhelming inaccuracy of the experts surveyed, PRWeek’s “biggest lesson” for PR executives proved wrong:

“The greatest irony here and the biggest lesson for communications professionals: Donald Trump may lose tomorrow because millions of Latino, Muslim, and women voters he vilified – Democrats and Republicans among them—help push Hillary to victory.”

No, the “greatest irony here” is that those who make a living as barometers, and drivers, of public opinion could all be so far off.

Here are ten of their most outrageously bad predictions - and the wimpiest one.

Most Wildly Inaccurate:

“I believe that my former boss Hillary Clinton will make history and become the first woman POTUS and she will win by an Electoral College landslide of 322 to 216. That includes Florida, Nevada, and North Carolina.” - Kris Balderston, president of global public affairs and strategic engagement, FleishmanHillard

So, PRWeek surveyed a former Clinton employee, who picked Clinton. And, while Clinton did take Nevada’s six electoral votes, she lost 29 in Florida and 15 in North Carolina.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Hillary Clinton will be our next leader and that the Democrats will take back the Senate. My prediction is that we will be awed by the numbers.” - David Landis, president, Landis Communications

“Hillary Clinton will get 300-plus electoral votes.” - Richard Edelman, CEO, Edelman

“Clinton is going to win and the reason is that Trump could never get the concept of the "movable middle" in campaign strategy.” “For that reason, Clinton will capture at least 310 electoral votes.” - Rob Flaherty, CEO, Ketchum

“No doubt about it—Hillary Clinton has to be our new president. Not only does she have to be, she will be.” - Jen Dobrzelecki, EVP and Head of U.S., M&C Saatchi PR

“Clinton will win with a sizable majority.” - Aedhmar Hynes, CEO, Text100

“Clinton is going to win with over 300 electoral votes.” “Trump will ultimately lose because he acts like a neofascist.” - Richard Levick, founder and CEO, Levick

“Hillary Clinton wins by a slightly larger margin than Barack Obama did in 2012.” - Jamie Moeller, global MD, public affairs, Ogilvy Public Relations

Most Ironic:

“My guess: Trump wins popular vote but barely and loses the electoral college.” - Lee Carter, president, maslansky + partners

In actuality, the opposite happened, despite Carter’s claim of unprecedented knowledge of the American public: “As communicators we have the ability to know our audiences better than we ever have before.”

“Clinton will win, in a closer election than anyone could have predicted.” - Rick French, chairman and CEO, French|West|Vaughn


“I predict with absolute confidence that on Tuesday…somebody will probably be elected president of the United States. Sorry I can’t be more specific, but this cycle has upended all the usual rules. If we learn anything from 2016, it’s that predictions will be wrong.” - Greg Jenkins, founder of North Bay Strategies

Well, yes, yes, they will – but, how could all of them be SO wrong?

Editor’s Add-On: Speaking of bad predictions…On Nov. 6, the Los Angeles Times posted Our final map has Clinton winning with 352 electoral votes.”

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