Republicans were embarrassed last Tuesday, November 6 on Election Day not only by their loss, but also by how much they lost. They knew there was a chance that President Obama could be re-elected but the sweeping that occurred was far from anticipated. According to GOP strategist Curt Anderson, “this was the worst cycle ever for polling and there’s nothing that even comes close to it… It was a colossal disaster and it wasn’t confined to the presidential campaign.” Investigation into the widespread faulty polling has led to a few conclusions on how and why such exaggerated optimism and false signs of Republican enthusiasm was projected. One of the speculations is that the recent expanse of groups who conducted polls in the same states, groups not only within the campaign but others, for example outside spenders using huge sums of money allotted for the election, made it more difficult to gather and condense information and then figure out how exactly each state was acting. Another explanation for such flawed polling is that Republicans misjudged how many young people and minorities would show up to vote.
It is clear that Republican polling was very misleading for the entire campaign, in regards to almost every Republican candidate running and even in regards to some races in the House where they easily pulled the overall victory they anticipated, and yet it’s interesting to look at posts and read articles from before the presidential announcement was made where Republicans are claiming that polls are bias in their showing that Obama was ahead of Romney and that they must be oversampling Democrats. First polls showed Romney in the lead, then Obama, then Romney, then back to Obama. Is it all part of the media’s projection of a horse race election to keep the public engaged and tuned in?
This election exposed a lot about polls, specifically how inaccurate and misleading they can be. It’s evident that as our technology improves and people are less inclined to be polled, as more sources want to contribute money and get involved in politics and polling, the possibility of poll inaccuracy becomes greater and greater and politicians and the American public become more and more frustrated. For future elections, it is clear that something must change. Will the technology and methods of polls be adjusted and improved to better capture the opinions of the American public, or will they become obsolete?