With 16 days left before the Nov. 3 election, the Democrat leads the president by nine points nationally, according to the average of RealClearPolitics polls. But how much does that matter.
Four years ago, Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the US presidential election raised the question of the reliability of the polls. Should we believe them this year?
With 16 days of the November 3 election, Democrat Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by nine percentage points nationwide, based on the average of RealClearPolitics surveys.
But a candidate can make it to the White House without having the highest number of total votesInstead, it must win in the states that have the greatest weight in the electoral college, as Donald Trump imposed on Hillary Clinton in 2016.
This year, six states are likely to decide victory: Florida, North Carolina, Arizona, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. There, too, Biden appears first, although sometimes within the margin of error, with advantages ranging from 1.4 points in Florida to 7.2 in Michigan.
The polls had correctly recorded, the day before the vote, a slight nationwide advance for Clinton. But “they were wrong in some of the key Midwest states “that gave Trump the victory, Chris Jackson of the Ipsos institute told AFP.
Among the causes of these errors, he cites an under-representation in the samples of “white people without a university degree”, who finally voted for Trump.
Most of the pollsters claim to have corrected the methodology to eliminate this flaw.
The key states that were not surveyed last time are also the subject of many more studies.
In addition, pollsters note great stability: since the spring, Biden has led the polls with an average advantage. which was never below four points.
In 2016, the curve between Trump and Clinton, in a zigzag, crossed twice, illustrating an uncertain race.
And in a very polarized country, there are less indecisive liable to change their vote at the last minute.
It is also argued that there are “timid” Trump voters, who hide their vote because of how controversial their candidate is.
“The polls were wrong last time and they are even more wrong this time “, insiste Trump.
Trafalgar Group, a pollster close to Republicans who boasts of using a methodology that supposedly avoids that bias, was almost the only one, in 2016, to give Trump the winner in Pennsylvania and Michigan.
But this time, even this signature gives Biden an advantage in crucial states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Four years ago, the businessman-turned-politician was a novelty, and news is always difficult for pollsters to grasp. “Today, everyone has made up their minds about him, there is no surprise effect around Donald Trump anymore,” Jackson explained.