We’re kicking the pollsters a lot on the site today but they deserve all of it and more. If you missed it earlier, go look at the comparison Ed posted this morning between the final RCP averages in swing states and the actual results last night. Pollsters missed by nearly five points in Texas, by six points in Wisconsin and Iowa, and by seven points in Ohio. Nearly every poll of Lindsey Graham’s Senate race taken in October had Democrat Jaime Harrison within two points or so. The biggest lead Graham saw in any survey was six. He won by 11.
It can’t be stressed enough: This wasn’t just one or two polling firms having terrible nights. The averages across dozens of polls were off dramatically. The whole point of using an average is to control for outlandish outliers and try to produce a more realistic sense of each race. The failure was total, systemic. The disgrace is ineffable. Particularly since they had four years to refine their methods and make sure they were capturing Trump voters accurately after 2016.
It wasn’t just the bad pollsters who contributed either. FiveThirtyEight gives six firms an A+ rating: Marist, Monmouth, ABC/WaPo, NYT/Siena, Selzer, and Muhlenberg. The great success story among that batch was Selzer, which had Trump winning big in Iowa a few days before he went on to take the state easily. Marist, by contrast, had Biden winning North Carolina by six and Florida by four. Monmouth had Biden taking Pennsylvania by seven and Florida by six. ABC/WaPo also had the Democrat up seven in Pennsylvania and Michigan and — wait for it — by 17 in Wisconsin. NYT/Siena saw Biden winning Florida by three, Arizona and Pennsylvania by six, and Wisconsin by 11. Muhlenberg, which sticks to Pennsylvania, found Biden ahead there by five.