CBS Pittsburgh, September 2020
Hardly a day goes by without a new political poll telling us who is in the lead in Pennsylvania for president. But can we trust these polls to be accurate?
In 2016, political polls in many states, including Pennsylvania, were wrong. National polls correctly predicted Hillary Clinton would win the popular vote. But the polls failed to see Donald Trump’s Electoral College victory. That’s led to a healthy skepticism about polling.
“Polls are only as good as their methodology,” professor Costas Panagopoulos told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Thursday. “They are much less precise than people perceive them to be, but they’re also snapshots in time. They may or may not predict what happens with Election Day.”
Panagopoulos is the chair of the political science department at Northeastern University and a well-known election scholar. He says pollsters have a tough time discerning who is really a like voter for their polls.