World News – US – Polls overwhelmingly show Biden leads Trump to Wisconsin and Michigan But are they right this time?


On Election Day 2016, polls showed Hillary Clinton with an almost 4 percentage point lead in Michigan and a 6 point lead in Wisconsin, but Republican Donald Trump would win both states in less than a point

Of 28 polls in Wisconsin in 2016, all showed Clinton leading, according to poll data tracked by Real Clear Politics In Michigan, 36 of 37 polls had Clinton in mind And yet Trump wins in both states earned him the presidency

« None of those Wisconsin polls had Trump in mind, and four or five of them were mine. My last poll was over six for Clinton, » said Charles Franklin, political science researcher and director of surveys at Marquette University Law School « Nobody is right »

With just over a week before this year’s election, polls offer a similar tale with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden ahead of Trump by around 5 points on average in Wisconsin and nearly 8 points in Michigan In total, only six of 104 polls conducted in both states this year have shown Trump a lead – and only two in the past two months

But all of this raises a simple question: Are the polls really right this time?

President’s campaign and Republican leaders in both states say the race is closer than the polls show – especially recent polls which saw Biden open a double-digit lead after the first debate and Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis For his part, Trump has repeatedly aroused enthusiasm among his supporters by pointing out how wrong the polls were four years ago

“And the last elections? I was in the nine places I had to win It wasn’t a good feeling,  » Trump said at a recent rally in Janesville, Wisconsin “At the end of the night, I won all nine places, right? Think about it Other than that they did a great job polling « 

Similarly, Democrats are leaving the polls, with Biden campaign manager Jennifer O’Malley Dillon writing in a recent memo that « even the best poll can be wrong » as she called on her supporters to « do campaign as if we were lagging behind « 

« I don’t care about the polls There was a whole slew of polls last time around, it didn’t work, » former President Barack Obama said at a drive-through rally for Biden on Wednesday in Philadelphia « Because all these people stayed at home and got lazy and complacent Not this time Not in this election »

Pollsters, however, point to a variety of factors that give them more confidence, their numbers are more accurate this time around – less indecisive voters, less influence from third-party candidates, a better understanding of Trump voters, and very little fluctuation among Americans in their support and opposition to the president

“This year I think the polls will reflect more of the actual vote,” said Barry Burden, professor of political science and director of the Center for Election Research at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. not because the polls and the technology used have been dramatically improved This is mainly because it’s a better environment for polls « 

After the polling misadventures four years ago, Burden was tasked with leading a new battlefield states survey for the University of Wisconsin that probed the three swing states that Trump won by under ‘one percentage point – Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania

Burden described the « lack of high quality polls » in these states, particularly Michigan, where he said numerous « night operations » and automated polls contributed to poor poll averages

Around the same time four years ago, polls in Michigan and Wisconsin had between 10% and 15% of voters undecided But this year that number is closer to 5%, said Burden That leaves less room for volatility at the end of the race

Additionally, undecided voters unexpectedly broke for Trump Wisconsin exit polls in 2016, for example, showed these late undecided voters backing Trump by a 2-to-1 margin, Franklin said

Due to this unexpected late lag, Franklin said Marquette added a question to his polls this year, asking voters undecided who they would vote for if they were to vote that day It helped them conduct a statistical analysis on how those few undecided voters might break up this time around. So far, Franklin said, they’re evenly split between Trump and Biden, making a drastic last-minute change in support less likely.

Four years ago, Trump and Clinton were both historically unpopular candidates It’s less of a factor this year, both polls agreed Trump is more popular with the GOP base than he was in 2016 and Biden has a much higher favorability rate among voters in general than Clinton

In 2016, Wisconsin polls showed 20% of voters disliked Trump and Clinton Among those disgruntled voters, exit polls showed 60% supported Trump, 20% supported Clinton and 20 % voted as a third, Franklin said This year, the number of voters who dislike the two candidates is only 8%, he noted

Fewer disgruntled voters associated with the high-stakes nature of the race meant far less support for third-party candidates, removing another factor that led to late changes in the race four years ago, Franklin and Burden have agreed

Yet another reason pollsters say their final polls are likely to be more accurate: Early voting Up to 50% to 60% of voters could accumulate their votes by election day, Burden said

Also different this time around: Trump isn’t just known as a reality TV star-reality TV star turned politician who might be worth rolling the electoral dice Now he’s an incumbent who was impeached by Congress and had to rule amid a pandemic and subsequent economic recession

“People have strong opinions about the guy and everyone has an opinion,” said Burden “This is a referendum on his presidency, and there are usually fewer undecided voters in this environment « 

Trump’s opinion has been incredibly stable, Franklin noted, indicating that the president’s approval rating hovers around 40% for much of his tenure. Voters are therefore unlikely to change their minds on Trump in the eleventh hour

« When you look at job approval in the Gallup poll going back to Franklin Roosevelt, no president comes close – ever – to the small change in Trump’s approval rating over the four years, » he said declared Franklin

Biggest failure among many pollsters four years ago was ignoring the educational makeup of the electorate This turned out to be a critical factor as Trump’s backing heavily biased unqualified white voters of the University

As a general rule, surveys “weight” their results to give an adequate representation of a group that might have been sub-sampled in a survey, compared to the census data for that region. Practice is done according to the race, age, gender and other factors, but many state-level polls four years ago did not consider education

“Less educated people are harder to reach on the phone, and it’s harder to interview them for a poll, but this has been true for decades,” Franklin said. “Twenty years ago, if you had too many highly qualified people in your poll, it didn’t change your vote estimate much, but in the last election it did and that’s why it’s so important to weight it « 

Although Franklin weighted voters by education level in 2016, his latest poll was still down 6 points If he hadn’t taken that factor into account, Franklin said he probably would have been shifted by about 9 points instead

In his post-mortem analysis, Franklin blamed most of the blame on missing the mark with the high number of indecisive voters moving late to Trump – an unlikely dynamic this time around because it is about a smaller pool of voters

« My conclusion is that our mistakes arose because people were genuinely at odds over Trump, and this was especially true among Republican and Republican voters They really hated Hillary Clinton and couldn’t imagine voting for her which left them with a third candidate or not participating in the race, ”Franklin said“ And in the end a lot of them came back and went voted for Trump « 

Marquette Poll and University of Wisconsin State of the Battlefield Poll put Biden’s lead in Wisconsin at around 5 points The battlefield poll took that lead at around 6 points points in Michigan

Franklin and Burden Use Different Methodologies Marquette conducts random live telephone interviews with likely voters as the University of Wisconsin partners with YouGov to identify a pool of 800 likely voters in each state and then interview the same group of voters online periodically throughout the electoral cycle

« What is reassuring is that we used two different types of surveys, but produce very similar estimates of the distribution of Biden and Trump, » Burden said of the two polls « It’s heartwarming to see them being quite similar »

Other polls have shown a bigger lead for Biden in recent days in Wisconsin and Michigan, with the margin increasing since the president’s first confrontational debate and his hospitalization with the coronavirus

A recent New York Times / Siena poll put Biden’s Wisconsin lead at 10 points, while a new Fox News poll slashed Trump by 12 points in Michigan Franklin said he didn’t see such a big bump in his post-debate poll, which also coincided in part with Trump’s initial time in hospital

Both noted how major news reports gave Clinton temporary advantages in the rapidly fading 2016 polls Burden referred to Trump’s « Access Hollywood » tape scandal, in which he was recorded live to boast of female groping, as an example of high blood sugar that has dissipated

Whether this is the case with Trump’s debate performance and the diagnosis of COVID-19 remains to be seen, both pollsters agreed The two will release their latest polls next week

« I think it’s impossible to look at my poll and everyone else’s in Wisconsin and not come to the conclusion that Biden has a reasonably strong lead here. We can debate his size, but he doesn’t ‘there are no recent polls that have Trump in mind,’ Franklin said « Of course, this is where the alarms go, because that was true in 2016, and this is where legitimate caution comes in – but the fact remains that we have plenty of reasons to feel more confident. in precision this time »

Biden’s campaign has told its supporters not to believe it has a double-digit lead in any swing state, with O’Malley Dillon stressing that « every indication we have shows this thing is going to land on it. threadWisconsin Republican Party Chairman Andrew Hitt also rejected polls showing Trump following in double digits in the state and praised the Marquette poll, which showed a narrower margin as « the gold standard. »

“Our internal numbers and modeling tell us it’s a very close, razor-sharp race,” Hitt said “It all looks extremely similar to 2016, where the public poll says the president is dead, but our internal polls say it’s very close and we can see that growing support skyrocket »

While the fundamentals of the 2020 race have been much more stable than 2016, there is a potential wildcard: the participation rate

Records have already been set for the number of early votes and some projections suggest that the turnout could reach the highest rate in more than a century If a record turnout leads to a group particular demographic or electoral turns out in higher numbers than expected, this could affect the accuracy of polls

“With every election there is a new challenge for the ballot that is not really planned or for which there is no solution in advance,” said Burden “The turnout probably high and the different participation models are the biggest challenges of this year We just don’t know « 

New voter registration could also affect turnout Overall registration numbers have declined in many areas as fewer registration campaigns have been carried out amid the pandemic

In some states where voters are registered by party, including Pennsylvania and Florida, data showed Republicans were closing the gap in registrations with Democrats, in large part because the GOP continued to knocking on doors and organizing events throughout the summer

In Michigan and Wisconsin voters don’t register by party, so it’s more difficult to know if one party has an advantage, pollsters and party leaders all agreed Yet Hitt, the president from the GOP in Wisconsin, said his party had put more emphasis on it this time around, and some analysis has shown voter registrations falling at a slower pace in counties won by Trump four years ago

The fact that Michigan and Wisconsin both have same-day voter registration complicates matters, a tool Democrats most often push

« It will depend on how you represent your constituents, and this is where I think we have an advantage Democrats don’t have a floor game They don’t knock on doors, » Hitt said.  » They are in the cloud, and we are in the ground to get people out « 

In Wisconsin, Democrats have refrained from knocking on doors due to high cases of COVID-19, but have filed campaign flyers in some areas, local officials have said In Michigan, Democrats started going door-to-door a few weeks ago, but have pulled out of some areas as COVID-19 cases started to rise again, the Democratic Party chairperson said. the State, Lavora Barnes

Barnes said she tells anyone who listens to ignore the polls, but acknowledges Democrats are in a much better position than four years ago Biden and his California running mate Sen Kamala Harris is campaigning much more in the Michigan and the State Party has greater infrastructure and has been much better organized, she said.

“In 2016 those of us on the ground in Michigan knew it was going to be very close and we were very worried the numbers weren’t there and it turned out we were right,” said Barnes « It’s only night and day this time around with this operation on the ground, the Biden campaign actively campaigning here, the candidates coming here It’s completely different »

Part of how Burden tried to gauge potential turnout in his battlefield survey was asking respondents if they had been contacted by a campaign In Michigan, he said, voters were more likely to hear Democrats while Wisconsinites were more likely to hear the Trump campaign.

This is what worries Tracy Thompson about the polls She chairs the Rock County Democratic Party in Wisconsin, where Trump held a big rally last weekend in Janesville and said she didn’t was not convinced Biden had a big lead as recent polls have suggested

« I’ve been around the state recently and there are pockets where you only see Trump signs everywhere – big, several – and if I were to ignore them I’d say Biden doesn’t have any luck, « said Thompson, whose historically Democratic County Clinton won by 10 points in 2016, » Trump has been focusing on Wisconsin for a long time, he’s been visiting here and I get at least three or four texts a week from his campaign or his allies inviting me to vote for him, and I had never seen this before They are intense « 

While Democrats can engage in a virtual organization that is not as visible, Thompson said she is still worried

« It’s hard to say what’s going to happen, but I just have to be optimistic, » she said « It’s going to come down to the last votes counted, I believe The race seems so close »

Who leads the presidential poll for 2020

Global news – US – Polls overwhelmingly show Biden leads Trump in Wisconsin and Michigan But are they right this time?



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