Why polls failed in 2020 still unclear

(A version of this essay originally was posted at the Conversation online site on 20 May 2021.) More than six months after the acute polling embarrassment in the 2020 U.S. elections, survey experts examining what went wrong are uncertain about what led to the sharpest discrepancy between the polls and popular vote outcome since Ronald […]

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Our incurious press

(This essay was first posted at Media Myth Alert blog on 30 November 2020.) “The press has had little to say about most of the strange details of the election — except, that is, to ridicule all efforts to discuss them. This animus appeared soon after [Election Day], in a spate of caustic articles dismissing […]

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Yet another polling surprise

(This essay originally was posted at the Conversation online site on 4 November 2020.) Election polling is facing yet another reckoning following its uneven-at-best performance in this year’s voting. Although the outcome in the 2020 presidential race remained uncertain the next day, it was evident that polls faltered, overall, in providing Americans with clear indications […]

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Why we are so enamored with pre-election polls

(This essay originally was posted at the Conversation online site on 29 October 2020.) The Republican pollster Frank Luntz warned on Twitter and elsewhere the other day that if preelection polls in this year’s presidential race are embarrassingly wrong again, “then the polling industry is done.” It was quite the forecast. While it is possible […]

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Disrupting the endgame: Five scenarios

(This essay originally was post at the Conversation online site on 21 October 2020.) The storyline of the presidential campaign seems to be solidifying, as polls show Joe Biden maintaining a sizable lead over President Donald J. Trump. But the lead may not be insurmountable, and the election is not over. The history of polling […]

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