Interesting times for US pollsters

Original article by Michele Levine, Gary Morgan, Julian McCrann
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 5-Nov-20

Not since 1948 has US polling been so poorly regarded. Regardless of whether or not Donald Trump is re-elected, he has proven the polls wrong again. Since the 1960s, we at Roy Morgan have known, and reported, that with polling there is a bias towards the party or leader that everyone ‘thinks will win’. This is especially the case with telephone polls, robo-polling and online polls. In the US this phenomenon (the bias towards the party/leader people ‘think will win’) was demonstrated to the extreme – as it did in the previous Presidential election. Essentially pollsters didn’t interview enough people who were ‘intending’ to vote for Trump; and if they did interview Trump supporters many were too frightened to say they would vote for Trump. The best way to measure ‘voting intention’ accurately is with ‘face-to-face’ interviews conducted with a representative sample of people using a ‘secret ballot’. Of course things can change in politics, as voters did in Queensland, when Pauline Hansen’s vote almost halved when she publicly called to ‘open’ Queensland borders. However in the US the polls simply got it wrong – with Trump concentrating on the economy – and blue collar jobs – while Biden and the media were focused on COVID.