Pollsters Claim They Don’t Know Why 2020 Polls Were Significantly Off And ‘Too Favorable’ To Biden
A new report regarding the 2020 presidential contest shows that polls at both the state and national level were significantly off and consistently “too favorable” to President Biden – and pollsters can’t explain why.
A comprehensive report published by the American Association for Public Opinion Research indicates the 2020 national polls were the least accurate bunch in four decades with state numbers off more than they had been in 20 years.
In the final two weeks before Election Day, Politico reveals, based on the study, that national polls were off by 4.5 percentage points, while state polls were off by 5.
That is well outside the typical ‘margin of error’ of 3 percent as cited by a majority of polls.
Politico adds that, when it came to the 2020 presidential polls, “most of the error was in one direction.”
“Looking at the vote margin, the national polls were too favorable to now-President Joe Biden by 3.9 points, and the state polls were 4.3 points too favorable for Biden,” they write.
A new, highly anticipated report from the leading association of pollsters confirms just how wrong the 2020 election polls were. But nine months after that closer-than-expected contest, the people asking why are still looking for answers. https://t.co/1H7qLiSOky
— POLITICO (@politico) July 19, 2021
2020 Presidential Polls Were Wrong – Experts Don’t Know Why
It was quite obvious that the 2020 presidential polls, just like those conducted in 2016, were significantly off.
A report confirming the obvious is nice to see.
What isn’t nice to see is that the so-called experts can’t exactly pinpoint why an industry that voters may rely on to decide whether or not to venture to the polls has been so far off for years.
And they only seem to be wrong in favor of one political party.
“Unlike 2016, when pollsters could pinpoint factors like the education divide as reasons they underestimated Donald Trump,” Politico writes, experts this time “couldn’t put their finger on the exact problem they face now.”
Biden winning has delayed some pollster reckoning but the 2020 miss was worse than 2016
“National surveys of the 2020 presidential contest were the least accurate in 40 years, while the state polls were the worst in at least 2 decades”
Via @POLITICO_Steve https://t.co/5r1Garahhm
— Alex Thompson (@AlexThomp) July 19, 2021
Is Polling A Dying Industry
Politico, back in April, published a report describing a joint statement from five leading Democratic pollsters who were trying to explain “why they blew it again in 2020.”
Among their many excuses for being wrong were:
- Deteriorating trust in public institutions like government, media, and polls.
- An underestimated turnout of Trump supporters.
- Democrats stayed home and answered their phone during the pandemic at a higher rate than Republicans.
They clearly have some idea what the problem is.
New: Inside the Democratic polling autopsy. Five of the party’s biggest firms have been engaged in a previously unreported examination of what went wrong in 2020.
They have theories about what caused the errors, but no consensus (yet) on how to fix them. https://t.co/hwCXq0uGWI
— Steven Shepard (@POLITICO_Steve) April 13, 2021
Perhaps the most egregious example of polling benefitting Biden during the election was an ABC News/Washington Post poll just one week prior to Election Day indicating the Democrat had opened up a lead on former President Trump by 17 points in the swing state of Wisconsin.
Professional pollsters should have known that something was catastrophically wrong.
Biden would go on to win Wisconsin by less than 1 percentage point and less than 21,000 votes in a state that cast well over 3.2 million ballots.
How many Trump supporters stayed home thinking the state was lost based on polling that was telling them their candidate had no chance of winning?
“This is their strategy,” pollster John McLaughlin said shortly after the election. “They want to suppress your vote.”
A week ago, the Washington Post, citing its new poll, reported that Biden had a 17-point lead over Trump in Wisconsin, 57 percent to 40 percent. What an utter, complete, total embarrassment. Current actual difference: 7/10 of one percent. https://t.co/2tRwanTn5n pic.twitter.com/8D5ZT37yF9
— Byron York (@ByronYork) November 4, 2020
One pollster told Politico in April that, “Twenty-twenty was an ‘Oh, s***’ moment for all of us.”
The fact of the matter is polling had also shown Democrats would expand their lead in the House, something that most decidedly did not happen. While Democrats maintained control, Republicans flipped a significant number of seats.
2020 was such a disaster for the polls that veteran pollster Frank Luntz, in the days following the election, declared his profession “done.”
“The political polling profession is done,” Luntz said. “It is devastating for my industry.”
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