A Victory for the Pollsters

Published at 00:44 on 7 November 2018

What happened today is basically what the polls were in aggregate saying would happen: the Republicans kept the Senate and the Democrats took the house. The projected number of House seats that flipped is still (even as more are getting settled) right around the number of 35 that the polls had converged on in the past fortnight.

A lot of my friends are expressing disappointment and saying otherwise. That’s more their fault than the pollsters’. A cherry-picked subset of rosy outlooks (what many of them were going on) is not representative of the overall data set.

The anomaly that happened in 2016 when the polls failed to predict the Trump win seems more and more likely to have been a one-off anomaly. For a horrifying hour or so, it appeared that might not be the case. The earliest results had the Democrats doing significantly worse than forecast. Thankfully, those districts in the Eastern US (then the only time zone where polls had closed and results were available) were themselves an unrepresentative sample.

As to what happens now, caution is advised. Remember my recent post about refusing to accept or honor election results. That hasn’t happened so far. But wait a bit; there’s no telling what Trump or Fox News might say in the coming days and weeks. Even Evan McMullin (a conservative, not a leftist like yours truly) is predicting things are likely to get ugly.

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