Are the polls wrong or just our expectations?

BY: - November 16, 2020

Americans aren’t known for their patience. A poll conducted a few years ago for a banking corporation found that 96% of Americans “will knowingly consume extremely hot food or drink that burns their mouth” and 63% do so frequently. Most than half of us hang up the phone after being on hold one minute or […]


Polling could use an irreverent figure like this Iowa native to reset expectations

BY: - November 13, 2020

Polling is hardly a flamboyant field that attracts a lot of colorful characters. It is a rather reserved profession that now finds itself under siege in the aftermath of yet another polling surprise in a national election. The field is buffeted by intense criticism – by even extreme claims that it may be doomed – […]


The U.S. presidential election might be closer than the polls suggest (if we can trust them this time)

BY: - September 19, 2020

With less than two months until the U.S. presidential election, Democratic nominee Joe Biden leads incumbent Donald Trump in the bulk of opinion polls. But poll-based election forecasts have proved problematic before. The polls were widely maligned after the 2016 election because Trump won the election when the majority of the polling said he would […]


Political prediction models aren’t necessarily more accurate than polls – or the weather forecast

BY: - August 15, 2020

As the presidential election approaches, everyone wants to know who will win. But nobody wants to wait until the election is actually over and the votes are all counted up and double-checked. In an effort to predict the winner weeks, or even months, in advance, pollsters take to the phones and the internet, and academics […]


Lack of Iowa Poll is disappointing but not a conspiracy

BY: - February 3, 2020

I have a lapel pin that looks like a tiny newspaper front page with the headline:  “Dewey defeats Truman.” Of course, we know from history that Harry Truman won the presidency in 1948, not Thomas Dewey.  I think about that premature headline on big election days as a simple reminder:  Don’t make stupid predictions. Going […]