Pollsters Slow to Change Methodology Before 2020

Despite last year's debacle over Hillary Clinton, few public pollsters are changing their ways ahead of the 2020 election.

News outlets and public colleges have done little to change how they poll voters, and David Dutwin with the American Association for Public Opinion Research believes he knows why.  He says polls indicate general consensus, not the electoral vote.

“The national polls did quite well with a lot polling firms getting two-to-three percent for Clinton and that's pretty on par with what the popular vote was, but the real challenge is the electoral college and popular vote didn't jibe together,” he says.

Dutwin says state polls did not fair so well in last year's presidential election, mainly because they are underfunded, “I think a lot of the lessons that we might have learned from the last presidential election really won't hit until the next one.”

Doug Kaplan at Gravis Marketing says changes are coming, but insists pollsters are not the ones to blame.

“We'll be looking more rural and at more of a mix mode type of thing with online and telephone,” says Kaplan.  “But if you really look at it, it was the media that has a narrative, places like the Huffington Post said that President Donald Trump was an entertainer, they weren't going to call him a politician.”

Terry Madonna, director of the Franklin and Marshall College Poll, also foresees a shift in how data is collected.

“Some pollsters now believe you need to do online as well as telephone interviewing, both hardline and cell phones, in order to pick up younger voters and voters who may not want to talk with an interviewer,” says Madonna.

 Many also believe the focus in 2020 will be on a voter's level of education with Trump doing well in the so-called “uneducated” category, while Clinton carried the college educated demographic.

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