Wednesday, June 11, 2014

In Cantor Loss, All the Polls Were Wrong

If word of Eric Cantor’s lopsided election loss last night caught the world off guard, it was because the polls were wrong. This was not just a few polls a little bit off, but every poll predicting an easy victory for the incumbent. The predicted margin of victory was about 8 points in the closest poll, or 24 in the most generous. Only the Cantor campaign seemed to believe the latter poll, but observers were equally skeptical of the former, looking for a result somewhere in between. The polling was so one-sided that CNN virtually called the race for Cantor in the early afternoon of election day. We have seen this before. Political polling (exit polls excluded) has had difficulties reaching active voters ever since the beginning of the cell phone era. This is a case that shows that these problems continue.