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All The Presidential Polls Were Wrong (Again)

All The Presidential Polls Were Wrong (Again)


How do these guys keep their jobs?

Pollsters across the U.S. once again blew the call in 2020, just like they did in 2016, when they predicted former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would win in a landslide.

President Donald Trump immediately took notice. “[T]he ‘pollsters’ got it completely & historically wrong!” he wrote Wednesday morning on Twitter.

How bad did the pollsters blunder? Here’s what they said right before Election Day, according to Real Clear Politics (RCP), which keeps a running average of all polls from battleground states.

In Arizona, RCP’s average of polls there said it was tied. But with 84% of the vote counted, Democrat Joe Biden won by nearly 100,000 votes, winning by 3.4% — 51% to Trump’s 47.6%.

In Florida, RCP said Biden was up by 1.2%. But he lost big, with Trump winning by more than 375,000 votes and again a margin of 3.4% — 51.2% to Biden’s 47.8%.

In Michigan, pollsters said it’d be a blowout, putting Biden up by 6.5%. But as of Wednesday morning, the two candidates were virtually tied, with Biden leading by just 15,527 votes out of more than 5 million cast. The margin is 49.5% to 48.9%.

In Wisconsin, the RCP average gave Biden a 6.4% lead. Wrong again. The race there, like Michigan, has not yet been called. Biden leads by just 20,748 votes out of more than 3.2 million cast, and the margin stands at 49.6% to 48.9%.

And in Pennsylvania, the pollsters said Biden was up by 3.6%. That state, too, has not yet been called, but Trump leads by more than nine percentage points, 55%-44.9%. Trump leads by more than 500,000 votes, but just 64% of the vote has been counted.

The editorial board at The Wall Street Journal also took notice, penning a piece headlined, “So Much for the Election Landslide.”

“A surge of unexpected votes for Donald Trump has confounded the forecasters — again. Whether it’s enough to carry him to victory in the Electoral College, as it did in 2016, was uncertain at this publication Wednesday morning. But by making the 2020 race close, and perhaps taking it into overtime, Mr. Trump has pulled off a second huge political surprise. At least a few pollsters might be looking for a new line of work,” the board wrote.

“Either candidate had a path to win by our deadline. But it’s already clear that the biggest early losers are the pollsters. The mainstream media polls all had Mr. Biden winning in a walk with a popular vote margin in the upper single digits. They were off in particular on Florida. The outlier pollsters like the Trafalgar Group, often derided by their colleagues, seem to have better judged the electorate,” the board wrote.

In 2016, Trafalgar Group chief pollster Robert Cahaly got it mostly right. His group’s polling in 2016 showed Trump leading Clinton in key battleground states like Pennsylvania, Florida, and Michigan on the eve of the election. Trump won all three, despite most polls saying he would lose the states.

“What we’ve noticed is that these polls are predominantly missing the hidden Trump vote, what [we] refer to as the shy Trump voter,” Cahaly said. “There is a clear feeling among conservatives and people that are for the president that they’re not interested in sharing their opinions so readily on the telephone. We’ve seen people be beat up, harassed, doxed, have their houses torn up because they expressed political opinions that are not in line with the politically correct establishment.

“And so, these people are more hesitant to … participate in polls. So if you’re not compensating for this, if you’re not trying to give them a poll that they can participate in … you’re not going to get honest answers,” Cahaly said.

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