The death of polling is greatly exaggerated

By FiveThirtyEight - March 27, 2021

But maybe live-caller polls aren’t the gold standard anymore.

Polls probably aren’t at the top of your mind right now. We’re more than four months removed from the 2020 election, and we still have almost 20 months to go until the midterms.

That’s why it’s the perfect time to launch the latest update to our FiveThirtyEight pollster ratings, which we just released today! We’d encourage you to go check out the ratings — as well as our revamp of the interactive featuring individual pages for each pollster with more detail than ever before on how we calculate the ratings.

No, but seriously … I think it’s nice to have a little distance from the heat of an election cycle when talking about polls. When I first looked at the performance of the polls in November, it came after the election had just been called for Joe Biden — and after several anxious days of watching states slowly report their mail ballots, which produced a “blue shift” in several states that initially appeared to have been called wrongly by the polls. We also didn’t yet know that Democrats would win control of the U.S. Senate, thanks to a pair of January runoffs in Georgia. Meanwhile, then-President Donald Trump was still refusing to concede. In that environment, a decidedly mediocre year for the polls was being mistaken for a terrible one when that conclusion wasn’t necessarily justified.

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