The Real Loser of this Election: The Polls

courtesy of

Andrew Prokop, Editing Manager

As we wait for votes to be tallied and results to be revealed from the 2020 election, much is still uncertain. The race has been closer than any in recent memory. The most recent comparison could be the 2000 election race of George Bush versus Al Gore. The election will seemingly continue to go on for multiple days and go through numerous recounts and lawsuits before we have an official count and result. The only piece of certainty in this election is how poorly the polls have performed. 

For the second presidential election in a row, the polls have been off by an enormous margin. The 2020 presidential race was supposed to be a landslide victory for the democratic party and their candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden. Yet by the first day of the election, the race is narrower than many polls had anticipated. The polls are currently running an error margin of approximately 6%, which is better than 2016’s 7% poll error, although still far from passable []. For more information about pre-election polling numbers and 2016 polling inaccuracies, see my last article, “Polling Problems.”

The repeated failure to have accurate polling results means the time and money put into polling and developing statistics are entirely pointless. As a nation, we would be more prepared going into an election with no polls at all as opposed to if we have incorrect information. The polls have failed once again and need to be seriously evaluated to their purpose before the next election. Incorrect information hurts our election process’s credibility and undermines the trust from either party, and ultimately hurts our republic and presidency going forward. All these questions being raised due to volatile polls undermine the election and loses trust in our future president, whoever that may be.