Why The Polls Are Wrong: Updates

Why The Polls Are Wrong: Updates

This was originally written for a normie audience. See updates below.

Polls Predict Biden

On the evening of October 29th, The Economist updated their poll-based election forecast model. It gave a 96% chance for Biden to take the electoral college, and it said it was all but certain, greater than a 99% chance, he will win the popular vote.

These are incredible numbers. Yet not unusual.

For instance, on that same night, Nate Silver’s 538 site had a poll average of 52% for Biden and 43.2% for Trump (the other 4.8% going to other candidates and uncertainty). Every poll used in that average had Biden ahead. Two had Biden up 12 points over Trump.

Silver wrote that Trump’s chance of winning were “a little worse than the chances of rolling a 1 on a six-sided die and a little better than the chances that it’s raining in downtown Los Angeles,” which he cited as 1 in 10.

There are others beside these two firms, but almost all favor Biden by a large margin.

Silver rightly said, “At this point, President Trump needs a big polling error in his favor if he’s going to win.”

This is not impossible. Most polls in 2016 blew it. Including Silver’s. His last poll average gave 45.7% to Clinton and 41.8% to Trump (4.8% went to the forgotten Libertarian candidate). Silver’s poll-based model gave a 71.4% chance of Hillary winning.

Many modelers were bolder than this—and their record was dismal. There have been several lachrymose postmortems since then searching for the cause of error. There are even fresh efforts at analyzing the 2016 polls, given their eerie similarity to today’s. All these analyses say what The Atlantic says: “Don’t sweat the polls.”

What Polls Are

Polls can be taken in two basic ways: as a snapshot of current desires, or as a prediction of the outcome. There’s no real way to prove any poll erred in summarizing current desires, but it’s obvious how to check them as predictions.

Besides cheating, which usually takes the form of non-serious “news” polls released to generate headlines, like those that hugely over-sample Democrats, polls get predictions wrong because they do not accurately represent what the actual voters “look like.”

Ideally, if 49% men and 51% women vote in the election, then the poll must directly sample 49% men and 51% women, or it must statistically adjust the ratio of sex in their sample so that it matches the 49/51 split. But that means they have to guess what the eventual ratio will be, since nobody knows in advance it will be 49/51.

There is more to who votes, and for what reason, than just sex. There is geography, education, age, occupation, health, party, and many other characteristics. Not everything about people is important to sample: just those things that are tied in some way to how people actually vote.

Unfortunately, nobody is quite sure just what those exact things are. Or what their breakdown will be in the actual election. There is a lot of guessing going on in polls.

Who Was Sampled

The 2016 postmortems focused on the how the (serious) poll samples did not match who showed up the vote. In one such effort, CBS said

An examination of the 2016 electorate by Pew found that Whites with a four-year college degree or more education made up 30% of all validated voters, while White voters who had not completed college made up 44%. Only 38% of college-educated Whites said they voted for Mr. Trump, whereas he won by more than two-to-one (64% to 28%) among white voters who had not completed college.

This assumes college status is important in why people cast their votes, which surely has some truth to it. But it also means that even if a poll sample exactly matches the actual voters in the breakdown of characteristics it tracks, the poll can still be inaccurate. Because the characteristics it tracked might not have been important in why people voted how they did.

This is where models come in. A poll average can be taken as a model, a prediction of the outcome. More usually, the polls are fed into statistical contraptions that can also accommodate other information, like economics measures.

There is nothing special in these models. They, like all models, only say what they’re told to say. In effect, they say, “If the polls are at this level, and the economic indicators are that, then say Biden 96%.” If the modelers guess right about what they tell their models to say, the models will be accurate, else they will not.

The 2016 models weren’t accurate. So they were told to say the wrong things. This means they gave too much weight to polls, or to the other measures put into the model.

Outdated Math

Now the mathematics these models use have been honed and adjusted over many years and many elections. Prior to the arrival of Trump, they didn’t do too badly. These older elections shared many similarities and customs that became irrelevant after Trump. Things changed in a fundamental way. But the models might not know this.

We won’t know until long after the election, when the 2020 postmortems come in, but it does not appear to me that these Trumpean changes have been added to most poll models. Modelers and pollsters seem to still think this will be an election like other elections, at least in most respects. I have no direct proof of this, since I don’t have access to the models themselves, but there is nothing in public statements made by pollsters to suggest otherwise.

One fundamental change is the poll data itself. Are people telling the truth when they say to a random stranger, who is possibly recording the call, “Yes, of course I’m voting for Biden”?

There are many who dismiss the “shy Trump” phenomenon, insisting most tell the truth, or that the fibs people tell pollsters balance out. If you truly doubt the existence of shy Trumpers, then try this experiment. Go into your place of business tomorrow morning wearing a MAGA hat and say “I’m voting for Trump.”

The level of your unwillingness to participate in this experiment indicates your true belief in shy Trumpers. Those who work in openly pro-Trump companies already know what would happen.

Poll models that don’t account for this phenomenon will give Biden a larger chance of winning.

Traditional poll models also give a lot of weight to formal party affiliation of those polled. This would be fine if Trump were a true party man, as Bush and his Republican predecessors were. It’s hard to argue at this late date, though, that Trump belongs to either party. Again, models that don’t note this change will give Biden a larger chance.

Not All Can Be Quantified

The last problem with models are incorporating non-quantifiable information. Modelers love poll and economic data, because they’re hard numbers, and hard numbers are easy to manipulate with math. Modelers come to love their numbers too much, though, ignoring those things that are not quantifiable, but which most would accept are predictive.

Take this tweet by Christopher Rufo: “Luxury shops in DC are boarding up in anticipation of the election.” This is accompanied by a picture of shops readying themselves for the hurricane.

It’s easy to guess who these owners think is likely to win, and who the sore losers will be. How do you put this information into a mathematical model? You can’t, really. Which is why modelers lean toward dismissing unquantifiable yet pertinent information.

The poll I used to publicly forecast a 2016 Trump victory is the same one I use now to make the same bet. Rally size and enthusiasm.

Trump was in small town Wisconsin on the night of the 24th. Reported weather: 37 degrees. Crowd size: at least a thousand, maybe double.

This was the last rally he had on that Saturday, each jammed with enthusiastic supporters. This was not an unusual day.

Joe Biden on that same day was in rural Pennsylvania. No report on audience size, but an NPR picture shows him standing alone in the far distance, looking fairly lonely. A caption for the picture, knowing some would question the lack of a crowd, read, “Appearances by [Biden] and his surrogates follow social distancing guidelines.”

Staying home is, of course, a form of social distancing.

Even Obama is having trouble raking them in for Joe. A video shows Obama haranguing an audience of at least seven people about the wonders of Biden with a bullhorn. They didn’t appear convinced.

When Hillary ran, she drew at least multiple dozens to even hundreds in high school gymnasiums. Some of these crowds were even boisterous.

Biden’s followers, however, resemble fans in an near-empty bleachers trying to start The Wave. They know it’s the thing to do, but their hearts aren’t in it.

Then there’s the t-shirt poll, which is similar to, but easier to understand than the donations-raised poll. Biden t-shirts are going for $2.99, and Trumps for $6.99—or two for $12.00. The seller evidently didn’t think anybody would be buying two Bidens.

The Picture Is Not So Clear

It’s easy to get carried away with this kind of thing. Still, it’s telling there aren’t many good pro-Biden examples. Except for things like this Tiktok video of a daughter who harangued her dying father into voting for Biden to please her. Or another Tiktok with a woman with an asymmetrical haircut dancing badly to “When you say Joe, we say Biden”.

The last bit of evidence I offer is the paradoxical insouciant nervousness displayed by the media: they are a little too anxious to show they are not worried about the polls. This Reuters headline is typical: “So what if Biden is up in the polls? Weren’t they wrong last time?” There are too many stories from the left saying how not worried they are. Some on the left, like Michael Moore, understand this. Most don’t.

There just isn’t any clear way to mathematically model all this, so it’s good information that’s left out. It’s that insistence on strict mathematics that may, yet again, lead to the downfall of the polls and pollsters.


Ignore the asinine coronadoom deaths model. Regression, doesn’t account for age, ignores transmission only in sick and the huge increases in testing, etc. Concentrate on this being yet another indication Trump is drawing much bigger crowds than Biden.

Biden is already testing excuses for why he’ll lose.

‘People Are Going To Be Shocked’: Return of the ‘Shy’ Trump Voter? Politico article which repeats much of the above, but includes detail only the hardcore will enjoy. I do not. I find polls tedious.

There are two schools of thought on the election itself. One is that Trump wins but has the election stolen, such as by the media lying (and, really, do they know how to do anything else) and inciting a color revolution.

The other is that Trump’s victory is so apparent even journalists will have to admit it election night. And then this happens:


Naturally we all pray for the latter outcome.

In order for the media to get away with theft, the election itself has to be tighter than Joe Biden’s grip on his son’s wallet. The media will have to claim with a sufficient degree of plausibility enough to overcome Fox, OAN, and the internet, that the “too close to call” outcome has to wait for the mail-ins and other votes to be counted. They’ll then project and say Republicans tampered with those votes.

This won’t be enough to steal the election, but it would be enough to put doubt in the minds of the Undead Woke Army, who might not be that bright, but who at least know how to follow orders. Besides the DC shops being boarded up, NYC ones are, too. The press says.

The fact of the media-caused chaos, and any right reaction to quell it, would be used as proof that the Trump’s election was illegitimate. That is how, after all, color revolutions work. And, like Jim and others are saying, if they get away that, that would be the End Of All Things.

Let’s see how it goes Tuesday night before commenting further. But my take is that the election will be too lopsided for them to bother trying.

Update to the Updates

Silver has been at this the past 4-5 hours. His site now has 10% chance of Trump winning. He said on TV somewhere “10% chance events happen fairly often”, or words similar to that.

He sees it but can’t say it. His customers wouldn’t stand for it.

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  1. JR Ewing

    From your lips to God’s ears.

    I don’t see lightning striking twice, 2016 was just too close and too long of a roll without crapping out once… But I really hope I am wrong.

    And I’ll add that there is all kinds of irony floating around about how the “Republicans” are going to “steal” the election when its the dems who are setting themselves up to do just that.

    I remember Bush v Gore and how two counties in Florida literally started looking for additional Gore votes among discarded ballots.

    I remember Al Franken being pushed ahead by a box of ballots “found” in a car trunk two weeks after the election.

    I live in Houston. Two months ago a story was briefly in the news about a local Harris County official who had been caught running a ballot harvesting ring. He is apparently a Joe Biden volunteer.

    Don’t tell me Republicans are the ones who want to “steal” the election.

    If you ask me, the only means of voting should be in person on Election Day or via evaluated and excused absentee ballots. Everything else facilities cheating.

  2. Plantagenet

    If Biden wins it will be the most peculiar victory in ages. When he, or his handlers, can be bothered to run a campaign at all it has been an entirely negative one. Not simply anti-Trump but anti everything. America is in a bad place. America is a bad place. This, that, or the other catastrophe has/will happen. Furthermore not merely that it will happen if Trump wins, but even if Biden wins! That’s how bad things are. Taxes will go up, quarantines will come down, pandemonium on the streets etc…and that’s his message…if he wins!!! Who in their right minds votes for such a platform? The answer is the progressive wing of the Democratic Party who are not interested in reform or happiness only revolution…sort of. The revolution will thrive on the coming economic hardship which may become a great deal worse under their stewardship. The revolution will thrive on the mental health and crime they will exacerbate. Some say Biden’s strategy is to lie low and let Trump hang himself, dangerous strategy.

    Trump, on the other hand, runs a wholly positive campaign, which may be wishful thinking, but ought to hand him the election in a walk.

    Of course being a Brit/Canadian you might say I don’t have a dog in this race. Despite considering myself a conservative I have lived my life thus far in Social Democratic nations (Canada, UK, France, Italy, and Greece) I would probably be considered a centrist in the States. Given an increasingly aggressive, and expansionist China the Trump foreign policy worries me.

    Anyway good luck with things on Tuesday.

  3. Sheri

    So 96% chance America elects a turnip as president. We are all going straight to hell—on earth. Learn to love the stupid, or as others say, “the stupid, it burns”. Literally, if the turnip wins, and even if he doesn’t. The Trump man lacks the balls to actually fight domestic terrorists. Thus, the shops in DC are boarding up. It’s not who will win, it’s that NO ONE has any intention of stopping the rioting. So you introduce a false assumption to your model—that boarding up means a Trump win. (agree with you, Plantagenet).

    Polls are the wet dreams of academics. No relationship to reality, but the pollsters love the feeling they get. And, like many occupations, a pollster has no reason to be accurate whatsoever.

    The models don’t change because THE MEDIA IS THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. It’s NOT the media and it’s not science. The models will ALWAYS say the Democrat will win unless we get rid of all current media people and shut down the media, forcing a reboot.

    Republicans reportedly have learned to use the time-honored “lie to the pollsters” trick this year and tell pollsters they are voting for Biden.

    “Staying home is, of course, a form of social distancing.” Great retort.

    JR Ewing: Agreed. ONE voting day, in person, or carefully monitored absentee ballots with reasonable reasons for not voting in person.

  4. Zundfolge

    I still don’t think the voters will determine the winner. It will come down to the competence (or lack thereof) of the Democrat Cheating Machine. Which is also what happened in 2016. Hopefully they fail just as badly.

    Regardless of who wins, the fact that these elections are close enough that cheating can impact the outcome proves that our culture is irredeemably corrupt and stupid … because if Americans weren’t by-and-large idiots, Biden (or for that matter Hillary) would only get 20% of the popular vote.

  5. Kip Hansen

    In my moderate-sized Upstate NY town, there was an impromptu rally for Trump, with about 200 people, waving flags, playing music, and passing cars honking support (or flipping hand signs from the disagreeing). There was a Biden “rally” on the opposite corner with 20 people…..

    NY is a very Democrat leaning state….

    The lawn sign ratio, by personal — very scientific — count runs about 8 Trump to 3 Biden. Throughout the country — at least on the roads that I drive.

    Who knows? It is a very weird time….

  6. awildgoose

    Totally agree with Plantagenet.

    The Dems have run negative about how lousy America is. Their plan to fix it is taking everyone’s freedom, safety, and money via lockdowns, riots, and taxes.

    No sane person votes for that.

    If we allow the election to be stolen by the Left, we get what we deserve.

  7. LRFD

    I discount, but I don’t discredit the polls entirely. I remember being burned by Romney and the shy Romney voter. Trump is Trump, and if anyone can pull it off, it’s him. Still, he’s running against the oligarchy: their combined powers of flesh and blood and their not entirely earthly powers. They are on guard this time and are prepared unlike 2016.

    Here’s an alternative explanation for plywood forests going up in the People’s Republic of The Swamp: Biden wins, and there’s victory riots along the lines of Jordan’s Bulls in Chicago. The riots will be particularly terrible because the Powers That Be will be beholden to their SJW supporters who overcame the MAGA hordes. Burn Loot Murder gets to burn, loot, and murder with impunity until the Powers manage to crush the populist insurrection. As a dearly departed friend used to say, “these are the good old days.”

    As for T-shirts sales, how are the anti-Trump shirts selling? Trump has generated all of the enthusiasm this election, for and against himself. Joe Biden might as well be Mr Potato Head.

    As in all cases, pray continually.

  8. Sander van der Wal

    I understand that both campaigns do their own polling, which is kept secret, but is used to determine which states the candidate will visit. Any change they will use better models?

    I also heard that public polls are a way to influence the outcome. People like to vote for a winner, people staying home when their favorite appears to be loosing bigly. For that kind of polling you can just make up the numbers.

  9. Sheri

    “No sane person votes for that.” Yet, there are millions of votes in the insane direction. One can easily overestimate the sanity factor of our county.

  10. Shecky R

    Komrade Briggsy, you consume Russian disinformation like it was cornbread & gravy….

  11. weichi

    “This is not impossible. Most polls in 2016 blew it. Including Silver’s. His last poll average gave 45.7% to Clinton and 41.8% to Trump (4.8% went to the forgotten Libertarian candidate). Silver’s poll-based model gave a 71.4% chance of Hillary winning.”

    In 2016, Silver thought Clinton would get 45.7 % of the vote, and win by 3.9 %. In the end she got 46.1 % and won by 1.9 %. That’s … not too bad. You can’t call that prediction “blowing it”.

    And his assignment of a 71.4% change of Clinton winning was totally fine (other that that it is ridiculous to claim that your prediction has precision to the .1 % level … 10 % sounds much more like it to me). Things that have a 30 % chance of happening, happen all the time. It doesn’t “validate” the model either, but it definitely doesn’t count as “blowing it”.

    (A better example of “blowing it” in 2016 was Sam Wang. He had a Clinton electoral college victory at 93 %. Now, while it’s certainly true that 7 % probably events happen fairly often, in this case I think the single result is enough to at a minimum cast very serious doubt on the model.)

    None of this means that Silver is right about 2020. There are many problems with getting a true random sample via a poll, problems that are serious enough that we should view them and models that use them with healthy skepticism. But all this stuff you and your commenters are spouting about rally sizes, “enthusiasm”, yard signs, T-shirts, is either totally subjective or suffers from equal or greater bias problems than polling. In the neighborhood I drove through on the way to Church this morning, it was all Biden signs. In the neighborhood I drove through two weekends ago while taking my son to a birthday party, it was all Trump signs. It tells you something about the people who live in those neighborhoods, but it has *zero* predictve power about who will win the election.

    Among the people I know, I can think of 3 or 4 who would admit to voting Trump. That tells you something about the people that I know, but absolutely *nothing* about who is going to win the election.

  12. Dave

    “Modelers and pollsters seem to still think this will be an election like other elections, at least in most respects. I have no direct proof of this, since I don’t have access to the models themselves, but there is nothing in public statements made by pollsters to suggest otherwise.”

    Actually, you do have access to The Economist’s model:


  13. Johnno

    And if that doesn’t work, there’s always the Kennedy solution.

    Wonder who they’ll blame that one on? Putin? Assad? Kim? Xi?

    Then again, there are plenty of lone gunman Antifa/BLM patsies. Always useful expendable idiots, who unlike Oswald are probably deranged enough to completely embrace credit for it even if they didn’t do it. The celebrity-nature of it is too appealing, and the twit might believe he’s safer in a padded cell than out here with Covid. All he needs is wireless internet access to bask in the soma of likes. All his socialist needs will be looked after in prison.

    But why take chances? He’ll expire in jail, just like Epstein before any formal trail takes place. It will be marked Covid. To assuage the American voters the press will throw for Trump the grandest state funeral service they can. All of them weeping that they’d perhaps been too hard on him and might have simply misunderstood this great man. I’m sure Francis will personally fly down here to conduct the funeral. Christmas, however, will still be cancelled.

  14. Uncle Mike

    If Trump wins, and I predict he will, the losers will be:

    Biden, Harris, Pelosi, Schumer, the Democrat Party, Socialists and Marxists, pollsters, the Media, the Swamp, rioters and looters, the NBA, NFL, and soccer everywhere, atheists and abortionists, the drug cartels, illegals, climate alarmists, Academia, social networks, China, Europe, and Canada, Death Clowns, FauXi and the Scarf Lady, the teachers’ unions, womyn and sodomites, the Pope, Satan, and a slew (slough) of others. Feel free to rub it in.

  15. Milton Hathaway

    Back in 2016, I used to answer the phone; I never do now, except on the rare occasion I know exactly who’s calling. In my circle of acquaintances and coworkers, its considered good etiquette to first IM “Got time for a call?” If a call from an unknown number is important, I figure they’ll leave a message, which gets translated (accurately) to an email message. Have any pollsters called me this year? I honestly don’t know. But if had accidentally answered the phone, would I have lied to them? No, I would have just said politely “I’m not really interested” and hung up. I don’t like polling as a business, why would I participate, even by lying?

    I agree with Sheri, all voting should be in-person, with poll-watchers representing all interested parties from start to finish. Model it after the procedure a casino uses to handle money. Mail-in voting allows Demoncrats to “win all the close ones”, ala Gregoire vs Rossi.

    I would go further, though – it should be illegal for any government entity at any level to combine registering to vote with any other activity, such as “motor-voter”. Or spending any taxpayer money in ‘get-out-the-vote’ efforts. There is no value, and indeed there is great harm, in encouraging the disinterested to vote.

  16. Dean Ericson

    Great post, Sarge, and excellent comments. I was trying to think up some clever piece of sideways stupidity to post, as is my wont, for your amusement, but the muse, she fails me. I guess I’ll just have to second Shecky Greene’s hilarious comment.

  17. Zundfolge

    Well I’m praying for the landslide … or any victory really … but I also loaded all my empty mags and set out a second rifle just in case.

  18. Ann Cherry

    Well, haters gonna hate. We’re watching Trump rallies, live on RightSide Broadcasting, via clunky YouTube, on our 82″ screen. You can’t fast forward or reverse, it’s just like the olden days, but they have the best coverage of the YUGE crowds, 50K at one of the PA rallies. He just left SC, will be arriving in Rome, GA, where 20K patriots are already assembled, 4K more to come, and thousands more along the road. After this, one more in Miami FL. But Trump’s going to lose to China Joe, who bobbles, drools and slurs, because polls!

  19. Joy

    Trump will win if there’s any justice or common sense amongst the American public en mass.

    (not that I believe there is certain justice in this life, should anybody be under any illusions.)

    The dynamic was the same over here over our last few ellections and referenda.

    I recall thinking prior to several, especially last Christmas,
    “surely that man’s unelectable”,
    Same for Biden.
    The media will have you convinced that you’re in a minority, even though you know better.

    A “BBC Poll” spoken of today on the news claimed that if the UK were voting, Biden would win easily.
    How wrong they always are about the polls. They said it was close over Jeremy corbert!

    If I’m right then it follows that Trump will increase his lead.
    If he doesn’t, it’s gonna be a long four years if all out war doesn’t break out in between time.

    The UK Conservatives do NOT favour Biden. Not remotely

    Obama wasn’t popular over here, in my circles, anyway. Biden is second fiddle
    Go Trump!

  20. Sylvain Allard

    The result of the election will be known very early. At least, before 11pm.

    Democrat will control both chamber and the president.

    Too many Republicans are tired of trump.

    The Lincoln Project did an incredible job at peeling away soft Trump voter.

    Republicans can’t win elections when there are a lot of voters. Their is not enough white supremacist to win.

    2 other big factor: Biden’s favorable number are above 50%, Clinton number was negative.

    And the number of undecided are around 5% compared to 20%in 2016.

  21. VA Helot

    One point about voter enthusiasm and Biden rallies, If I may. What if we’re looking in the wrong place for enthusiasm for Biden? Enthusiasm on the Left isn’t FOR Sleepy Joe. It’s enthusiasm AGAINST Trump, traditional America, anti-white, anti-cop, pro BLM, etc. You can’t dismiss the enthusiasm of the Left when you see the size of a BLM rally or the protests in the streets. I hope you are right, and I am wrong.

  22. Amateur Brain Surgeon

    ABS can not tell y’all how he knows this but the super rich of Palm Beach Florida were involved in a conference call a day or so ago and they agreed to have one of them ask the Cops on Palm Beach Florida to raise the bridges onto the island by 9:00 p.m. because the super rich fear that Antifa and BLM of West Palm Beach will be coming for a riot once they learn that Trump has beaten Biden.

    Trump wins. Bigly

  23. Dennis

    Trafalgar and Democracy Institute have Trump winning big. The Des Moines Register’s final Selzer poll – usually a very reliable indicator of how things are breaking across a number of states in the Midwest, has Trump +7.
    Rasmussen as well has Trump leading most battleground states.

    There are so many indicators of things trending Trump’s way, yet the mainstream polls used by networks and major newspapers and clowns like Nate Silver still insist Biden is a virtual lock. I think at this point at mainstream polls on networks like CNN, MSNBC, CBS, etc. and used by most papers, are pure fabrications designed to give the impression of an insurmountable Biden lead in hopes of suppressing Trump votes.

    Two of the best non-mainstream analysts I’ve come across are Robert Barnes and Jay Fivekiller on Twitter. Barnes especially goes into great detail on why mainstream polls and Nate Silver are idiots.

    As an aside, I’ve never been contacted by a pollster. And if most polls still rely on phone calls, I’d never answer since I never answer unknown numbers any more but just let it go to voicemail first. So I’m not sure how reliable a population sample they are getting from people who still either have landlines or actually answer unknown numbers on their cell phones.

  24. Dennis

    Enthusiasm on the Left isn’t FOR Sleepy Joe. It’s enthusiasm AGAINST Trump, traditional America, anti-white, anti-cop, pro BLM, etc. You can’t dismiss the enthusiasm of the Left when you see the size of a BLM rally or the protests in the streets. I hope you are right, and I am wrong”

    Yes, but much of the most intense anti-Trump enthusiasm is in deep blue pockets of the coasts (even a lot of BLM and antifa riots are ginned-up by out-of-state agitators coming into places in middle America). I know plenty of people who don’t particularly like Trump on many levels, but who prefer him and his policies to the the alternative of Biden-Harris (which will soon be just Harris, since Biden is not in this for the long haul. If he wins, I give him 6-8 months before getting ousted on Amendment 25 mental competence grounds, or forced to resign because of mounting corruption scandals, a la Nixon).

    At the end of the day, I think a winning campaign still has to give people a positive reason to vote FOR someone, rather than just running an entirely negative campaign AGAINST the other guy (especially when polls show 59% of people are concerned about Biden being able to complete a full term, and 52% say they are better off than 4 years ago, despite the coronadoom this year – a level of satisfaction that usually historically means a landslide for incumbent – hell, even W. Bush and Obama managed were re-elected with slightly under 50% in that metric).

  25. Dennis

    There should be a start quotation mark at the top line of that last post.

  26. Dennis

    “I understand that both campaigns do their own polling, which is kept secret, but is used to determine which states the candidate will visit. Any change they will use better models?”

    Yes, internal campaign polls are always more honest than mainstream public media polls. And you can tell the internal numbers aren’t looking good for Biden just by where he’s been lately. A Republican has not carried Minnesota since 1972…yet Biden was in MN on Friday. Four days before the election and he’s expending energy and resources to make a final push in a state his party hasn’t lost in nearly half a century. Not a good look.

  27. Dennis

    “The Lincoln Project did an incredible job at peeling away soft Trump voter”

    Sylvain back with his typical delusions. Lincoln Project is a grifting operation by establishment neo-conmen pissed at having their prior grifts in the GOP wiped out by Trump. One of the founders is literally a registered Russian agent (look it up, it’s public info; another example of liberals projecting onto Trump – Russia “collusion” what is in fact their MO). They are about as credible as others in the ex-GOP neo-con warmonger grift – Bill Kristol, David Frum, Max Boot, etc. Lincoln Project is all about trying to set themselves up to be rewarded with plum contracts and appointments in a Biden admin. Unprincipled frauds.

    Keep believing the mainstream polls and lies if it helps you sleep for one more night.

  28. Rudolph Harrier

    The art of polling and political prediction is saying whatever the hell you want and then later on explaining why reality is wrong.

  29. Ann Cherry

    Patriots of Arizona staged a YUGE Trump rally, mostly in the form of a 95 mile Trump Train across the desert.


    Sometimes we need to set aside the frequently-failed pundits and pollsters, and just savor the facts on the ground…since lame-stream “journalists” no longer will:

    50K at one rally in PA, 35K at Miami last night, similar numbers, 3,4, now 5 times a day, everywhere he goes. No, it’s not photoshopped.

    But no, apparently the “hidden voters” are now the Biden voters, way too elegant, or too scared of Coronadoom, to attend a rally for bobbling, drooling, slurring China Joe.

    Even tho early voting tallies don’t look good, and many sane Democrats are voting for Trump, we’re told the Smart Set will make up a blue wave on Election Day! Thereafter, the harvesting of unsolicited Democrat ballots should seal the deal for the Democrat-Communists!

    They’ll not need to wait long for his successor, lovingly referred to by her mentors as Heels Up Harris, who came in last during the Democrat primaries, but first in the hearts of “The Great Reset” consortium.

    We choose Trump, because policies. But we love the man, too. We believe he’s the leader chosen for us by God, for these very dangerous times. God bless.

  30. Dennis

    ABS: The Supreme Court could still take up the PA issue on the merits after the election if need be (and the state is supposed to segregate ballots received late), since the refusal to grant the stay was procedural and not substantive.

    I think the Court is trying to avoid intervening in anything as much as possible – even when it is clear state courts and election boards are playing foul with the rules as written by state legislatures – in hopes that there will be such a landslide either way that a few questionable votes here or there won’t sway the outcome and they’ll never have to rule in any substantive way that could be perceived as “GOP court appointees stealing the election for Trump.” But it’s a big risk, if the election is close, or there is clear evidence of more than just a few questionable ballots in a few places, such that they would change the overall election outcome. In that case the Court would have no choice but take up the same issues again and issue substantive rulings, and the political fallout will be worse than if they had just said up front “The rules adopted by the state legislature say X is the deadline and Y is how ballots are to be validated and counted, and state courts and election boards cannot arbitrarily change X and Y at the last minute just because they feel like it.”

  31. Amateur Brain Surgeon

    Dear Dennis. Thank You

  32. Dennis

    ABS – Does your practice include lobotomies? May need to sign up for one if Biden-Harris win! Could be the only way to make it through what’s coming down the pike.

  33. weichi

    “Silver has been at this the past 4-5 hours. His site now has 10% chance of Trump winning. He said on TV somewhere “10% chance events happen fairly often”, or words similar to that. He sees it but can’t say it. His customers wouldn’t stand for it.”

    I just want to point out that under Silver’s model, Trump’s chances of winning have been decreasing almost monotonically for the past 2 months. His model might be wrong, but if so, it’s getting more wrong, not less wrong.

    I don’t even know what to say about his “He sees it but can’t say it. His customers wouldn’t stand for it.” He sees what? That Trump is going to win? If he really thought that, he’d be a moron to keep quiet about it. He’d be like the only one of these election prediction people who got this one right!

  34. Ann Cherry

    The over-rated Nate Silver also favored Hillary by a huge margin in 2016 and gradually narrowed it to 60% right before the election, so he was only less wrong. He blamed “the media” for not reading the facts correctly. Well duh! So the Democrat/media/pollster circle-jerk didn’t pay off then, and it won’t pay off now, except Nate Silver will still, inexplicably, have a job! Fortunately for us, so will Trump, as the greatest President in history. MAGA!

  35. Dennis

    Ann: Nate Silver will still have cushy gigs from the media and establishment politicans, because these people are never made to answer for when they are wrong and his biased polling helps spread the Narrative that favors the Left (that’s what most mainstream polling is about anyway – creating the impression of things going the way the manufacturers of the Narrative want in hopes it will become reality at the only “poll” that matters on election day itself), much like Prof. Ferguson of the infamous Imperial College Covid model – he’s been astonishingly wrong in his predictions about every major disease outbreak for the past 25 years, yet still gets cushy jobs and is treated as an “expert” by the powers that be.

  36. kevinskii

    Great analysis, Dr. Briggs. You make a lot of good points. Regarding the “shy Trump voter” phenomenon, I agree that it probably is a real thing. However, so is the “shy Biden voter” phenomenon. I suspect there are a lot of towns where admitted Biden voters would face a similar risk of reputational harm, and these towns would tend to be in swing states.

    We can only speculate either way, but it seems just as likely that the polls have undercounted Biden votes where it matters.

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