Is the Polling Industry Dead? 'Shy Voter' and 'Social Desirability Bias' Theories Turn Right?

Is the polling industry dead? Whichever way this election goes, this question will come back to haunt pollsters in the US. This election has not been decided yet, but if solid leads at the half-point mark of the counting is any indication, a whole bunch of opinion polls have turned wrong already.

Reuters/Ipsos, Washington Post, NBC, Quiinipiac and CNN Off Mark?

National opinion surveys by major pollsters had given double digit leads to Joe Biden throughout the last several months. Remember, these projections were consistent over a period of time, not a passing blip. And these polls were conducted by big banners like Reuters/Ipsos, Washington Post, NBC, Quinnipiac and CNN.

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However, as it turns out, the current lead positions indicate that the two camps are neck and neck in terms of national popular vote at about 49 percent Biden to 48 percent Trump. It is certain at this point that there won't be a wide gap in the final national tally even if Biden wins the race.

Trump does have a strong, very strong chance to win the race as it looks like at this point, but even if Biden wins, it won't be a landslide projected by the opinion surveys.

Look at some of the key swing states where major polls had given solid 5-8 percent to Biden. All these states - Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Florida -- have all returned surprising results in favor of Trump.

The official results are not announced in these states and it may take a while before it happens but Trump has notched up solid leads in all these states.

National Polls

According to the Associated Press, Trump is leading 51 percent to 47 percent against Biden. The average lead given to Biden by major polls was more than 5 percent. It would surprise the pollsters how they polled big leads for Biden consistently, only to be proved wrong.


In Michigan, CNBC had given a 7 point lead to Biden in the closing days of the campaign but according to the Associated Press, Trump is leading there by as many as 11 points! The poll pundits will have some tough explaining to do here.


In Pennsylvania, NBC had given a 5 point lead to Biden while Monmouth had given a 7-point lead. However, as per early trends, Trump is leading by some 4 points.


In Florida, Emerson had given a 7 point lead for Biden while Reuters/Ipsos had given a 4-point lead. However, the key swing state is all but gone for Trump. Fox News has called the state for Trump, while he is in a 51-47 lead for Trump according to the Associated Press.

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