How much should we trust the polls?
Matthew Yglesias has a good discussion of why the poll-based models that give Biden a high probability of winning are probably right, despite the well-known polling errors in 2016. Nonetheless, it seems reasonable to believe that the poll based models (538, The Economist) are overstating Biden’s chances, for several reasons.
Turnout this year will be unusually difficult to predict. How will the surge in mail in balloting affect turn out? Will it lead to a large increase in voting, likely favoring Democrats, or are many voters likely to leave their ballots on the dining room table, or mail them in too late to be counted? Will weather effects on voting have a partisan slant (in either direction, potentially), given that Republicans are more likely to vote in person? How will COVID affect in person turn out? Any increase in uncertainty favors Trump, given that he is behind in projections.
We don’t know how effective voter suppression efforts will be. How will long lines affect turnout? How widespread and effective will outright intimidation be? Will efforts to intimidate backfire and increase Democratic turnout? Voter suppression tactics have changed enormously in the past few years due to Shelby County, so the current state of affairs may not be reflected in data from prior elections.
Finally, we don’t know what the Courts will do, and how their rulings will affect the vote. The biggest uncertainty is probably what happens to late mail in ballots, but other issues will arise.
As Andrew Gelman (creator of The Economist model) says, poll-based models are of “vote intentions, not of votes as counted.”
Polls within a week of the election aren’t so much polls of vote intentions, they include 30%+ of the final count because people have already voted.
Turnout will probably be about the same as it has been. Any claim otherwise is probably subject to the exceptional evidence criteria. Turnout being about the same is what the esitmates from the polls reflect.
Polls has dual function: to inform and to influence.
Sometimes, like in 2016, the second function predominates.
I am told by someone in my household that polls lie, since tens of thousands go to Trump rallies and only 250 show up at a Biden rally, so Trump will win in a landslide. This is putting a strain on the relationship.
Not worth the argument, just grin. Biden will win in Michigan for sure, Wisconsin probably and also Pennsylvania.
As someone said, ‘Trust but verify!’
That’s what next Tuesday is about.
Just don’t expect accurate results on that date.
As MSNBC has noted, do NOT at this point be
mailing-in your ballot. Hand-carry it to your
voting place or secure ballot-box.
It May Be Too Late To Mail Back Your Ballot. Election Officials Stress Other Options
NPR – October 28
Election officials in many states say it is now too late for voters to return absentee ballots by mail and are encouraging them instead to deliver their ballots by hand or vote in person.
State rules differ about how late ballots can be received and still count. Absentee ballots must be received on Election Day in more than two dozen states, including a handful of key swing states such as Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin. …
But with the end of voting now less than a week away, election experts and many state officials said there is no longer enough time to ensure ballots sent through the mail will be delivered in time, especially given service delays with the U.S. Postal Service. …
Your final option: Go to your local polling place
and vote in person, on November 3, 5 days away.
“poll-based models are of “vote intentions, not of votes as counted.”
Yes, of course. If you don’t know that, you shouldn’t be looking at polls.
If you’re a republican appointed judge, votes cast are actually vote intentions. https://twitter.com/mjs_DC/status/1322602843661021184
The GOP strategery of 2020 is clear. Focus on kettling/segregating blocks of legally cast votes ( by method or date or whatever reason they can think of ) then litigate to get the one discarded that might make Trump lose.
TNR’s newest issue showed how the plan was implemented in plain sight https://newrepublic.com/article/159755/republican-voter-suppression-2020-election