Ethics & Public Policy Center

The Polling Industry Can’t Sweep Its Failure Under the Rug

Published in The Washington Post on November 4, 2020


I watched election night unfold with a mixture of glee and despair. Glee because it looked as if Republicans would hold the Senate and gain House seats; despair as my pre-election prediction looked to be collapsing in tatters. Now, on the day after the big night, it appears the prediction will hold up better than it originally seemed, although significant errors will remain.

The most obvious mistake was in Florida. President Trump won the Sunshine State by an even larger margin than four years ago, and he did that because of huge support from the state’s Hispanic voters. Cuban Americans had moved back to the GOP in 2018 and moved even more decisively in the Republicans’ direction Tuesday night. Nearly all of Trump’s margin comes from the massive swing toward him from Miami-Dade County, Fla., the heartland of Cuban America. Trump is behind there by roughly 85,000 as of this writing; he lost by about 290,000 votes in 2016. Had former vice president Joe Biden performed there and in Puerto Rican-dominated Osceola County as well as Hillary Clinton did in 2016, Florida would have been a horse race.

Click here to read the rest of this piece at the Washington Post’s website.

Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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