The following map and table show the degree to which Trump and Biden outperformed the RCP polling averages at the state level:
|State||Trump (Biden) over|
The perception that polling overestimated Biden’s support is largely correct. Trump outperformed the polls in 33 states; Biden in just 11 states. In five states Trump did so by a double-digit margin; Biden in only one. The polling in Pennsylvania was–if the reported results are to be believed–spot on. No recognized polling was conducted in five states.
In 22 of the 33 states Trump outperformed the polling averages, he did so by an amount beyond the standard margin of error; Biden in but two of his eleven. In nearly half the states, then, the polling systematically underestimated Trump’s support by a magnitude too great to be handwaved away as a result of randomness. The methodological approach the polling outfits took are fatally flawed or the Biden advantage was a feature rather than a bug designed to energize Biden voters and demoralize Trump voters before election day. Either way, the industry has some explaining to do.