There has been talk since the 2016 election that polling is no longer accurate. Many claim the polls badly missed the results in 2016 and 2020 but many disagree. National polls by respected, non-partisan pollsters before the election in 2016 predicted Hillary Clinton would win by about 3 points and she actually won the popular vote by 2 points. Although some claim state polls were off in 2016, most of these “inaccurate” state polls were conducted over a month before the election and before the national polls noticed the race tightening. However, in 2020 the polls did underestimate Donald Trump’s support which had some claiming polls are not reliable.
With many predicting a “red wave” hitting in 2022, some predicted the polls would be off again in 2022. However, this is not the case. Most respected, nonpartisan pollsters had the race a virtual tie before the election. Although Republicans did win the national House vote by 2.8 points, this would be considered a correct prediction statistically. Why did media pundits predict a red wave in 2022, when the polls did not indicate this would occur? Partially because other polling questions (presidential approval and opinions on the economy) seemed to indicate one should occur. 2022 shows us that interpreting polls is still difficult.
Instructors: click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt and a debate question as well as other assessment questions.
Polls Show Republicans Flip Key Metric in 2022 Midterm Elections, Democrats Blew Their Lead
Democrats Catch Up to Republicans on Enthusiasm in Final NBC Poll Before Midterms
The Red Wave Washout: How Skewed Polls Fed a False Election Narrative
New York Times
What the Final Pre-Election Polls Tell Us About How the Midterms Will Turnout
Pollsters Got it Wrong in 2018, 2020, and 2022. Here’s Why Political Polling is Nothing More Than Statistical Sophistry
The Issue Choice That Could Decide the 2022 Election
Debate: Do you think polls today correctly measures public opinion?
Why do you think response rates for polls have declined?
Poll: Would you respond if you received a call from a pollster?
Do poll results affect your likelihood of voting?
Short Answer: What bits of polling information suggested Republicans would do well in 2022?