Longtime Republican pollster Frank Luntz says errors in predicting a major Biden victory is killing their credibility with the public and the parties.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
One of America’s leading pollsters said Wednesday that the major miscalculations in the polls leading up to Election Day might have killed his profession, and that Trump supporters might have skewed the results by not cooperating with polling.
“The political polling profession is done,” pollster Frank Luntz told the news website Axios. “It is devastating for my industry.”
Most polls leading up to the election on Tuesday showed Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden having a sizeable and seemingly insurmountable lead over President Donald Trump. However, once voting ended and ballots were tallied the two remained neck-and-neck in the race for the White House.
As of Thursday final votes were still being tallied in key states with Biden holding a lead that will likely get him to the minimum 270 Electoral College votes needed to be declared the winner.
Known for his expertise on the targeted messaging that candidates needed to win, Luntz admitted that polling for House and Senate races had been off target.
“Polls of many House and Senate races (and the election analysts who rely on them) also appeared to be off target, as predicted Democratic gains in both chambers of Congress failed to come to pass,” Luntz tweeted early Thursday morning.
Luntz called the polling for the Maine Senate race a “systematic failure” after 14 separate polls had placed Democratic candidate Sarah Gideon ahead of incumbent Republican Susan Collins. However, with 86% of the vote counted Collins had won reelection with 50.5% of the vote to Gideon’s 43.0% and Gideon called Collins to concede the race.
“I’m proud of the campaign we ran, regardless of the result,” Gideon tweeted.
On Wednesday Luntz told Fox News that President Trump and his pollsters were “correct” in saying that the 2020 presidential election would be “much closer” than anybody expected.
“Published polling was so wrong,” Luntz said. “There are people who are calling for investigations of the pollsters who had Joe Biden winning by 10 points, 12 points.”
Luntz specifically called out an ABC News/Washington Post poll that last week showed Biden leading Trump by 17 points in Wisconsin, but where counting showed only the tiniest of margins.
“That’s not a mistake, that’s not an error, that’s polling malpractice and you have to go to tremendous lengths to be able to get something that wrong so close to the election,” Luntz said.
As of Thursday morning, Biden was leading by only 0.7% in Wisconsin with a 20,000 vote advantage.
“And you know what? Actually Donald Trump was correct, Donald Trump’s pollsters were correct that this was a much closer election than anybody realized, and we are going through the ramifications of that right now,” Luntz told Fox.
“The fact is a lot of Trump people want to send a message to Washington, to the swamp. They want to send a message that they’re not going to be … ignored and forgotten and lied to and so they simply don’t cooperate with pollsters,” Luntz said, adding that he himself needs to make a “special effort” to get Trump supporters to participate in his polls.
“I have to ask a number of unique questions to get them to participate,” Luntz said. “I have to tell them in the opening, I actually have to inform them that national leaders will read the results of your information, you’re going to have influence for the first time.”
“That gets them to participate, if they know their voice is being heard and most pollsters don’t do that,” Luntz continued. “It requires a special effort, additional verbiage and the surveys are a little bit longer. That’s the only way to get Trump people to participate.”
Still an optimist, Luntz tweeted that “We’re only 1,462 days away from Election Day 2024.”