Tag Archives: pollsters

Jerry Bowyer: Pollsters and the 2020 Election

Political analyst and poll watcher Nate Silver recently mocked political prediction markets, accusing them of being delusional and out of touch with reality.

But when you look back at the 2020 election, the prediction markets were a better gauge on the outcome than nearly all of the elite polling outlets. While pundits pointed to polls that showed a massive Biden lead, prediction markets thought the election outcome was close to a toss-up.

In Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio, Biden’s support was vastly overstated by the polling industry. In Florida, Polls said Trump would lose. The markets said he would win. He won by over 3 percent.

The success of betting markets is not some great mystery: They harness the power of the profit motive. Pollsters and pundits almost never get fired for bad predictions. But futures markets punish bad predictions.

It’s time we pay less attention to pollsters and more attention to markets.

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Mohler: Polling and the 2020 Election


The polls have been way off for two straight presidential elections now—and it matters.

The failure of our elite polling industry is politically important and very rich with worldview implications as well.

Now, some of these polls have been off in the past, but the problem is that we’re in the second election cycle when they have been off again—and not by a little bit. They’re off by a lot—and in the same direction.

Pollsters do seem to know where to find conservatives and maybe they don’t care. Why does it matter? Because the pollsters and the parties and the elite media all understand that voters are not only being analyzed about how they are likely to vote, but the announcement of a poll does itself often change voting behavior—or at least it can change that behavior of voters.

It’s not just a problem with pollsters, we’re looking at a problem with the entire political class. Again, I ask, do they care?

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