What the Polls Missed on Nov 4th

As the weeks and days closed in on the midterm elections, nearly all of them converged upon a single conclusion: that Republicans would have a very big day and that the Senate would change hands.

But despite the fact that professional pollsters were so certain about the outcome, there were some results that nearly all of them missed, results that beg whether current polling models are seriously flawed.

As seasoned political analyst Michael Barone points out, nearly all of the polls under-predicted the margin of victory incumbent Republicans would enjoy in their respective red states:

“Where the polls missed was in projecting Republicans’ votes in Republican-held seats. Pat Roberts ran 10.6 percent ahead of polls in Kansas, Mitch McConnell 7.2 percent ahead in Kentucky and David Perdue 5.2 percent ahead in Georgia.”

In those states that were predicted to be razor-thin, Republicans won big. The miss by pollsters demonstrates the inability, similar to predictions in the 2012 presidential election, to anticipate voter sentiments versus action in terms of actual turnout, particularly in the hard-to-reach rural areas of the country.