2. Why the polls could fool us — again
Four years after Donald Trump defied expectations set by pollsters and news organizations, the public should have even less confidence that public opinion data can accurately point to the winner, Axios executive editor Sara Kehaulani Goo and managing editor David Nather write.
- Why it matters: This election could be déjà vu all over again but worse, with polls setting false expectations amid voting complicated by the pandemic, and a president who has warned of a "rigged" process, the outcome of which he won't accept.
There are three big reasons for this year’s hand-wringing:
1. The problems with state polling in 2016 remain. There aren’t enough large sample, quality polls that account for key demographics of voters who tended to vote for Trump, like people without college educations.
- Many polls this year in swing states like Florida, Michigan and Wisconsin are "alarmingly" not improved, said Courtney Kennedy, director of survey research at Pew Research Center, who served on an industry panel that published a post-mortem after Trump’s election.
2. The pandemic will make actual voting more volatile.
- The nightmare matrix includes an unprecedented surge in mail-in ballots; the Postal Service’s lack of experience in delivering them on time; states' ability to process them; and access to in-person voting on Election Day.
3. We’re still in early innings. Conventions are wrapped up and the campaigns seem like they’ve been going on for years, but there’s a long way to go.
- "If ever there has been a year where unforeseeable things can happen, it’s 2020," said Ann Selzer, an Iowa pollster who works with the Des Moines Register.
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