You’ll hear people say this is a normal polling error, not a systemic failure. Bullbleep. This is the third race in a row (Presidency 2016, Governor and Senate 2018, and this) in which Florida polling was almost comically wrong.
That Florida disaster is mirrored in a longer and deeper national story. We’ve lived through a series of national elections in which we were sold a bill of goods—about the Obama reelection in 2012, about the Senate in 2014, about the Trump-Clinton contest in 2016 and about control of the House in 2018. Most polls got all these wrong too…
Political polling is a fraud. It claims to measure something that, it is now unmistakably clear, cannot be accurately measured. Polling’s seductive promise is that it will take the guesswork out of understanding a complex and changing set of circumstances and replace that uncertainly with something that looks like science.
But it’s less like the physics that helps us shoot rockets into space and more like the set of the spaceship on “Star Trek.” It’s shiny. It has a lot of dials and lights. Things beep. But if you put it on the Cape Canaveral launchpad and lit it on fire, you would just burn to death.