Monday , January 18 2021
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Surely the polls can’t be 17 points off!

Summary:
In the weeks before the election, I viewed Wisconsin to be the most likely “tipping point state”, as it was in 2016. It turns out I was correct on that point. So goes Wisconsin, so goes America.In September, I had expected Trump to win. But when I saw the following story on October 28, I couldn’t in good faith predict that Trump would win. Thus in the end I wimped out and predicted nobody. Biden up 17 points in new Wisconsin pollDemocratic presidential nominee Joe Biden holds a commanding lead over President Trump in Wisconsin in a new poll of the key battleground state released less than a week before Election Day.The ABC News-Washington Post poll found Biden supported by 57 percent of likely voters, far ahead of the president’s 40 percent.  Unlike Nate Silver (and

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In the weeks before the election, I viewed Wisconsin to be the most likely “tipping point state”, as it was in 2016. It turns out I was correct on that point. So goes Wisconsin, so goes America.

In September, I had expected Trump to win. But when I saw the following story on October 28, I couldn’t in good faith predict that Trump would win. Thus in the end I wimped out and predicted nobody.

Biden up 17 points in new Wisconsin poll

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden holds a commanding lead over President Trump in Wisconsin in a new poll of the key battleground state released less than a week before Election Day.

The ABC News-Washington Post poll found Biden supported by 57 percent of likely voters, far ahead of the president’s 40 percent. 

Unlike Nate Silver (and many of my commenters), I knew that polls were understating Trump’s support. The betting markets knew this too. And I knew there is a 3% margin of error in polls. But surely polls can’t be off by 17%!

And I was right. The WaPo/ABC Wisconsin poll was not off by 17%. It was off by 16.4%. That’s why Biden won.

PS. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but if I were I’d be asking how Trump could have done 16.4% better than the WaPo/ABC poll. Massive GOP election fraud in a failed attempt to steal the election?

🙂


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Scott Sumner
Scott B. Sumner is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, the Director of the Program on Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and an economist who teaches at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. His economics blog, The Money Illusion, popularized the idea of nominal GDP targeting, which says that the Fed should target nominal GDP—i.e., real GDP growth plus the rate of inflation—to better "induce the correct level of business investment".

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