How Trump has broken the polls

The Ipsos poll is just the latest to find Biden ahead. He has never been ahead of the election average. Right now, Biden have one averages 6 points nationally and is in major battleground states such as Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

What is the point: The polls clearly show that Biden is ahead and by a larger margin than he was on Tuesday for the 2016 election. You might think that would make people think that Biden is more likely to win, even if it was far from certain.

Still, the evidence suggests that Trump's surprising victory in 2016 has distorted people into believing that Trump has some magic up his sleeve. They don't think he'll lose.


An average of recent polls show that a majority of voters (about 55%) believe Trump will defeat Biden in the election. Trump's edge on this issue has remained fairly consistent over time.

A majority or majority of voters thought he would be re-elected in one Election poll from Fox News in February and a September 2019 Marist College vote. During none of these periods, Trump was ahead when polls asked voters who they would vote for, not who they thought would win.
Historically, the question of who people thought would win was actually a pretty good predictor. One study even determined that from 1988 to 2012, and asking people who they thought would win was more accurate than polls about choices they wanted about who they wanted to win.
The voters, thought that Hillary Clinton would beat Trump in 2016. Of course, she didn't.

Now it seems that Americans have probably overreacted to the 2016 result. They don't trust the numbers in front of them. Americans believe polls underestimate Republicans.

You can see this really well by looking not only at the 2020 polls, but also at the 2018 polls. Gallup asked Americans just before that election whether they thought Democrats or Republicans would control the US House after the election. With a 50% to 44% margin, Republicans said. This came even as the Democrats did clear favorites in pretty much every forecast, and then the same Gallup poll showed Democrats with an 11-point lead at the generic congress.

This 2018 poll marked the first time that Americans mistakenly predicted who would win the house. Americans had previously called for every other house election and flip of the chamber in the years Gallup asked (1946, 1948, 2006 and 2010).


By 2020, it seems that Americans continue to believe polls underestimate Republicans. That may be the case, but it seems like a poor bet given that the polls did quite well in 2018.

My advice would be that when you measure the electorate, you should not be in the mindset that Trump is going to pull it out if polls continue to suggest that he will not. Even Trump's own poll has him behind him.

Trump is a politician, not a magician.


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