Following the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, polling firms across the board faced widespread criticism for their drastic underestimation of support for then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign.
A quick look at the results from this year’s election cycle, however, indicates that they did not learn their lesson, as reported by the Daily Wire.
Pollsters missed the mark nationwide
As writer Ian Haworth explained in an article on Wednesday, polling methods not only failed to improve in accuracy over the past four years, but some actually appear to have gotten worse.
RealClearPolitics, for example, has long provided an average of polling results for the national popular vote as well as data from specific states.
In 2016, that average was a single percentage point off in its prediction that 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton would win the national popular vote. This year, however, the disparity appears to be much greater.
A final polling average published prior to Tuesday’s election showed Democratic nominee Joe Biden ahead of Trump by a whopping 7.1 points nationally. That number was weighted by surveys including one from Quinnipiac University that gave the former vice president an 11-point advantage.
Similarly, a poll conducted by CNBC/Change Research suggested that Biden would beat the president by double digits on Election Day.
“Used as a voter suppression tactic”
Many estimates proved to be wildly misleading when results started coming in on Tuesday. Though all the ballots had not been counted as of Thursday, Fox News placed Trump’s deficit to Biden at a mere 2.5 points nationally.
The disparity was not limited to the national race, as Haworth noted, but was also reflected in polling averages that missed the mark in key battleground states.
Haworth concluded that “pollsters don’t seem to have learned from their mistakes, and have failed to provide us with the information we need” ahead of the election.
Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien did not mince words when he sounded off on the industry, saying: “Despite ridiculous public polling used as a voter suppression tactic, Wisconsin has been a razor-thin race as we always knew that it would be.”