How progressives should respond to another polling failure

Back to opinion research basics

Construction.
(Image credit: Illustrated | iStock)

The presidential election has not yet been called, but Joe Biden seems to have an insurmountable lead in enough states to secure victory in the Electoral College. Nevertheless, it's clear that the polls were seriously off in many states. Biden was predicted to win easily, with comfortable margins in some states that ended up nearly even and the possibility of picking up several more that he ended up losing decisively. Similarly, several Democratic Senate candidates performed well below their expected numbers.

As a result, many progressives are understandably frustrated about the second consecutive polling whiff in a presidential election year. Staggering amounts of money were wasted on campaigns that were not close at all. About $90 million went into Amy McGrath's doomed vanity campaign for Senate in Kentucky, where she lost by over 20 points — but another $108.9 million went into Jaime Harrison's campaign against Lindsey Graham in South Carolina, which polls showed to be close but ended up being a 10-point loss. Something is very wrong with pollsters' methods.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/jacafc5zvs1692883516.jpg

Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us