Hillary Clinton

Study finds correlation between Russian social media trolls and 2016 polling

Trump and Putin at the 2018 G20 plenery
President Trump and Russian President Putin at the 2018 G20 summit. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

A new study found a correlation between retweets of known Russian troll accounts during the 2016 election and Donald Trump's poll numbers.

Why it matters: The study, conducted by a team headed at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and published in the peer-reviewed University of Illinois-Chicago journal "First Monday," suggests that — despite protests to the contrary by Republicans and Trump allies — the Russian disinformation campaign was successful in influencing the 2016 election.

There's no election polling makeover for 2020

Illustration of a crumbling bar chart
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Pollsters spent a lot of time figuring out why Donald Trump's win was such a surprise in 2016 — but the reality is that there isn't going to be a radical change in most election polling for 2020.

Why it matters: Everyone should be more cautious in 2020 about what the polls can tell us and what they can't. There will be some improvements in state polls, which is what really mattered in 2016. But polling experts warn that state surveys in general are still a weak spot, and other aspects of election polling are still a challenge.