There’s no simple answer to why the polls missed the mark in the last election. However, a likely reason for some of the mistakes is the deteriorating public trust in institutions like the government and the news media – and the correlation between that caution and Trump’s election. Between his public statements and his Twitter account, the former president questioned targeted polls which, according to Democratic advisors, led his supporters to refuse to take part in polls.
“Trump has followed the polls,” said another Democratic pollster who was involved in the partnership. “He was really quite open to those who heard of his suspicions about polls or the media.”
The elections in 2020 shook the turnout records – and opinion pollers have been waiting eagerly for the official elections since November Information from the states about who voted and who didn’t. Almost all of this data is now available, and there are clues hidden within.
The Democratic pollsters, who normally compete for business against each other, acknowledge that Trump was able to activate large numbers of voters who had proven to be less reliable in the past. A look at one state where the polls were taking place – Iowa, where Trump handily defeated Biden, and what was viewed as a race in the Senate was crucial for incumbent GOP Senator Joni Ernst – Republicans considered “voters with low propensity ”were found to be four times as likely as Democrats in this category, according to Democrats Memo.
“This turnout mistake was clearly a factor in disrupting the poll across the board, particularly in heavily Republican areas,” the memo said. “It also meant that in at least some places we again underestimated the relative turnout among rural and white non-college voters, who are over-represented among low-inclination Republicans.”
But Trump’s sky-high voter turnout among irregular voters explains only a small part of the problem, the polls concluded. Even if the polls conducted last year had been adjusted appropriately for future voter turnout, they would still be biased against Democrats.
The memo contains at least three possible causes: The belated move towards Trump and Republican candidates, which took place in the run-up to the elections, could not be captured. The Covid pandemic resulted in people who stayed at home answering the phone more often than those who were at home, following no restrictions and the decline in social and institutional trust.
However, there is little clarity as to how important each of these hypotheses was.
“While there is evidence that some of these theories may have played a role, there has been no consensus on a solution. What we set out to do is the idea The people we have reached have something systematically different and the people we have not reached“It says in the memo. “This problem seems to have intensified when Trump took part in the vote, and it is these particular voters that Trump activated who did not take part in polls.”
Some Democrats believe these flaws are a direct Trump effect – that he is a unique force in politics, arousing extreme opinions on both sides – and that it will fade when he is no longer a candidate.
“I don’t think we know what it is. I think we still have a lot to do to find out,” said one pollster the ballot says, “I don’t know. If it’s not, a lot of it could work itself out.”
The democratic endeavors contrast with the last major review of a party’s electoral practice. After the 2012 election, the Republican National Committee’s so-called “autopsy” – known for recommending that party leaders moderate their views on immigration and other social issues – contained a list of best practices for pollsters who were also called to the party center for discussion.
The five democratic companies that signed the memo are ALG Research, the Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group, GBAO Strategies, Global Strategy Group, and Normington Petts. Together with Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, they are five of the six leading electoral bureaus that work for the Democratic Party apparatus. ALG Research was Biden’s lead pollster in last year’s election.
Participants in the Democratic review said the process – which, contrary to the GOP’s 2012 efforts, was not dictated by party officials – was collegial, even though the five firms were competing for business.
“You should feel comfortable talking to your competitors because ultimately we all want the same thing,” said a third participant. “We all want a useful way to guide democratic candidates and progressive causes.”