May 4, 2016 Last Updated 7:50 am

Polling remains a dark art, Indiana’s primary proves

Morning Brief: Media app updates include ones for the Mag+ and Texture digital magazine platforms, as well as a bug fix update for the Google Play Books iOS app

You could almost imagine the look of satisfaction on the faces of Gallup managers who decided after the last major election to get out of the polling business for election horse races and concentrate on trends. “We believe to put our time and money and brainpower into understanding the issues and priorities is where we can most have an impact,” Gallup editor-in-chief Frank Newport said last year when the decision was announced.

Yesterday, when the votes began to come in from the Indiana primary, it was apparent that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would once again pull off an upset, despite all the polls saying that unlikely – while Donald Trump would become the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, despite few giving him much of a chance last fall.

How little a chance? Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight, who was credited with driving so much web traffic for The New York Times in the 2012 election cycle, and praised for his work and accuracy, put the odds at 2 percent last fall.


Later, after Trump jumped in the polls a bit later that fall into winter, Silver raised his odds a bit… to 5 percent.

“One problem with this is that it’s not enough for Trump to merely avoid fading,” Silver said in late November. “Right now, he has 25 to 30 percent of the vote in polls among the roughly 25 percent of Americans who identify as Republican. (That’s something like 6 to 8 percent of the electorate overall, or about the same share of people who think the Apollo moon landings were faked.) As the rest of the field consolidates around him, Trump will need to gain additional support to win the nomination.”

Silver’s message to the media was “stop freaking out about Donald Trump” – he’ll go away. So much for that.

On Democratic side, few polls had Hillary Clinton’s sweep of the Northeast exactly right, though most polls had her ahead. But no polls had Sanders winning Indiana, though some showed him closing the gap. What’s going on here? It is bad polling? Bad analysis of the numbers? Both? Gallup probably is saying that this is someone else’s problem now.

A number of digital publishing platform app updates have been released in the past 24 hours.

Mag+ has updated its previewer app, now called Mag+ Designd Reviewer to fix an issue with auto-playing of audio files. The company also updated the platform itself with version 6.2.1.

“Categories is supported on both iOS and Android builds and changes can be made instantly once you have updated your app to a 6.2.1 build,” the company said on its blog. “With the new categories feature you can now assign specific issues to display within a custom category tab right in your issue library. Below you will see screen shots of the categories feature displayed on the iPad, iPhone and on an Android tablet.”

Texture-homepage-330The digital newsstand app Texture, from Next Issue Media, also issued an update that changed some of the names of sections: My Favorites, My Collections and My Downloads are now called Favorite Magazines, Saved Stories, and Downloaded Magazines.

I checked the reviews for the Texture app inside iTunes to see how the app is being received following its major change in direction last year. So far, at least, the reviews are fairly positive. But the negative reviews point to an issue with mobile apps, in general, that I am seeing more often.

While device owners are not upgrading their devices as often as they once did – iPad sales have fallen nine quarters in a row – the software has changed frequently. The result is that many owners of older devices are complaining that with each update of an app the performance seems to be degrading. I find this myself with my older iPad 3. I rarely used it now because apps, and the Safari browser, perform so slowly.

Developers tend to buy the latest model of a mobile device, they update their software regularly. In other words, they are not the norm. Just how many media app developers or development teams maintain a slate of devices ranging from the newest to oldest, and religiously test their software on each device? I don’t know, but I know many apps are getting marked down because of performance issues and some developers are mystified as to what is going on.

Google has updated its Google Play Books app to fix an update that was apparently introduced with its most recent update. That update, issued just last week, brought in a new icon, but also some other changes that may have resulted in a bug.

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