Election Polls: Wrong Again

Well, it looks as though Biden is slowing inching toward winning the election. If all the ballots are allowed to be counted, Biden should capture the White House (lawsuits pending) with a razor thin margin via the Electoral College.

And that margin of victory should come as a shock to most pollsters and pundits who had the former VP way ahead nationally and in most of the so-called battleground states.

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I’m not sure why the pollsters get this so wrong in most elections time after time.

I guess you could believe in the conspiracy theories that are now flooding social media. For instance, do you really believe that pollsters for the Washington Post will create a methodology — and word questions — that doesn’t favor liberal Democrats? By the way, The Washington Post and The New York Times (among many other print and broadcast media) used to be real newspapers. Now they are just part of the media gaggle that basically just repeats talking points from the Democratic National Committee. I digress.

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The other problem, apparently, is that Trump supporters and conservatives in general are reticent to provide information to pollsters. So since the talking gasbags on MSNBC and elsewhere cover elections as though they are horse races, the so-called “shy” Trump supporters never get into the race until the very end.

Here’s from an article in The Atlantic: “The Polling Crisis Is a Catastrophe for American Democracy”:

Even with the results of the presidential contest still out, there’s a clear loser in this election: polling.

Surveys badly missed the results, predicting an easy win for former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic pickup in the Senate, and gains for the party in the House. Instead, the presidential election is still too close to call, Republicans seem poised to hold the Senate, and the Democratic edge in the House is likely to shrink.

This is a disaster for the polling industry and for media outlets and analysts that package and interpret the polls for public consumption, such as FiveThirtyEight, The New York Times’ Upshot, and The Economist’s election unit. They now face serious existential questions. But the greatest problem posed by the polling crisis is not in the presidential election, where the snapshots provided by polling are ultimately measured against an actual tally of votes: As the political cliché goes, the only poll that matters is on Election Day. The real catastrophe is that the failure of the polls leaves Americans with no reliable way to understand what we as a people think outside of elections—which in turn threatens our ability to make choices, or to cohere as a nation.

Oh well.

I guess we have learned at least two things so far about this election.

One:

 

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And two: There are some 70 million voters in this country who believe that Trump deserves to be reelected.

That’s the most depressing statistic of all.

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Rob Jewell

I’m Rob Jewell and I live and write in Woodland Park, Colorado, the City Above the Clouds. I've been fortunate. I worked for 29 years at BFGoodrich in Akron, Ohio. I started editing employee publications and ended as vice president of corporate communications. Then I started a public relations consulting company before becoming a full-time faculty member in the School of Journalism at Kent State University. I taught courses in writing, public relations and mass communication ethics. And I supervised a student-run public relations firm, called Flash Communications. During my tenure at Kent State I was honored to receive the university’s Outstanding Teaching Award. During most of this time I've been a dedicated runner. OK, jogger, if you take speed into consideration. But while my times are not much to write about, I was and am committed. For almost 30 years I ran at least 1,000 miles each year. (Except for one year when I tore my calf muscle playing tennis. So much for tennis.) Being on the road most mornings at 5 a.m. gave me some time to think. It also led to some amazing friendships that now span more than three decades. And my longtime love affair with running helped me shape my first novel, Then We Ran, which is available wherever electronic books are sold. And just so you don't think that all I did was work and run, I have other interests as well, many centering on family. My wife, Mary, was a successful and highly regarded career teacher in the Akron public schools. She now devotes her time and energy to a host of social and athletic activities in Woodland Park. My son, Brian, teaches at Cheyenne Mountain High School in Colorado Springs where he is also the head soccer coach. And my daughter, Jessica, has completed her doctorate at Kent State University where she is also an administrator with the Wick Poetry Center. I've done a lot of writing during my career -- but Jessica is the real writer in the family. I'll try not to make too many errors in this blog. I'm sure she'll be watching.

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