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Biden supporters in Philadelphia celebrate when his win – with a much smaller margin than predicted by polls – was projected by news outlets on Nov. 7, 2020. Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Survey experts have yet to figure out what caused the most significant polling error in 40 years in Trump-Biden race

Stung by their failure to accurately predict the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, pollsters collectively went off to figure out what went wrong. They have yet to figure out what or why.
Pollsters predicted a much higher vote for Joe Biden, including in Florida, where workers at the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Office in Largo process voters’ ballots on Nov. 3. Octavio Jones/Getty Images

In its troubled hour, polling could use an irreverent figure to reset expectations

Pollster Bud Roper once said of his field that “a good deal more than half is art and … less than half is science.” After the 2020 polls got a lot wrong, is it time for more candor from pollsters?
Supporters on election night 2016 at a Hillary Clinton party, when it became clear poll-based forecasts had been off target. Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Why Americans are so enamored with election polls

Polling is an imperfect attempt at providing insight and explanation. But the public’s desire for insight and explanation about elections never ends, so polls endure despite their flaws and failures.
Will Trump voters – like these at a rally, waving goodbye to him as he leaves – defy the polls and send him back to the White House? Olivier Touron/AFP/Getty Images

How might the campaign’s endgame be disrupted? Here are five scenarios, drawn from the history of election polling

Polling shows Joe Biden with a large lead over Donald Trump nationally in the presidential race. But there are many ways that presidential race polling has gone wrong in the past, and could do so now.
LGBT veterans march in a Boston parade. Contrary to what some may say, the military has a long history of embracing socially marginalized groups. AP Photo/Steven Senne

The military, minorities and social engineering: A long history

Whether it be African-Americans, Catholics or transgender people, the armed forces have played a vital role in shaping US social policy toward the country’s minorities.

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