By: Nathaniel Ballantyne
The presidential election of 2016 was such a big surprise that no one expected, including Donald Trump; I promised myself and my family that I will never trust another pollster again. But, in 2020, things seem to be different, and many pollsters told me that I should trust the new polls and that Donald Trump will lose by double digits. The pollsters offered some excellent reasons why we should trust the polls in 2020, and some of the reasons make sense to me.
As of October 15, 2020, some 19 days before the election, all polls, including the one by Fox News, a Trump propaganda machine, Fox News, shows Joe Biden with a substantial lead. Four days ago, on October 11, an ABC News/Washington Post poll showed Biden beating President Trump by 12 percentage points, 55 to 43 percent, among likely voters nationwide.
Recently, a CNN/SSRS and Fox News polls also showed Biden leading by at least ten percent of the vote nationwide. In comparison, an average of polls by the FiveThirtyEight website gives Biden a 10.6 percent advantage.why should we trust these polls. Those were the same people who told us that Hillary Clinton would win by double digits and lost badly.
POLLSTERS said that this time, things are different, and they gave four major reasons why they think that their public opinion surveys will be more accurate than in 2016.
First, they say, it’s wrong to say that polls were wrong in 2016: The average of polls at the national level said Clinton would win the popular vote, and she did — by 2.9 million votes, or by 2.1 percent. This was pretty close to the almost 3 percent that polls had predicted.
However, what the polls got wrong were the results in three critical states — Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania — pollsters, say. Trump won those states by a razor-thin edge that was within the margin of error. That allowed Trump to win the Electoral College and become president.
Second, pollsters say their 2016 polls had overstated support for Clinton because their polling samplings did not include enough likely voters without college degrees, who turned out in much larger numbers than in previous elections. Most of them voted for Trump, they say.
Scott Keeter, polling director of the Pew Research Center, said that “A lot of pollsters have made changes in their methodologies to try to offset some of the problems they had in 2016,” such as not polling enough white voters without college degrees.
Most pollsters corrected that mistake in the 2018 mid-term elections, which became much more accurate, Keeter said. “With those changes, we have greater confidence that what we’re seeing in the polls today is a genuine picture of reality,” he said.
Third, in 2016, pollsters failed to do last-minute surveys in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, where previously undecided voters helped Trump win on Election Day. This time, there are fewer undecided voters, and pollsters will conduct their surveys until the very last minute, they say.
“In 2016, at this particular time, a few weeks before the election, we still had about 20 percent of the electorate that was undecided,” Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said. “That number is now below 10 percent.”
Fourth, Biden’s lead at this time of the race is larger than that of any challenger since the 1936 elections, pollsters say. Biden is the first opposition candidate in the past 21 elections with more than 50 percent of likely voters, they say.