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Why Understanding the Polls Is Important

Why Understanding the Polls Is Important

Jonathan Chait: “The polls may be underestimating Biden, but they may just as well be underestimating Trump. To assume Biden must be doing better than the polls indicate is nothing more than wishful thinking.”

“Why does this matter? Most immediately, an understanding of the state of the race informs the Biden campaign’s decisions. The president recently turned down a Super Bowl interview, which would have given him a vastly larger audience than almost anything he could otherwise get. If Biden were leading the race, such caution might make sense — maybe the risk of a gaffe outweighs the benefit of getting his message out to voters. But it’s a baffling decision for a candidate who’s trailing and desperately needs to let more voters know about his record.”

“More profoundly, a clear understanding of the polls is necessary to decide whether Biden will eventually need to drop out of the race. His defenders insist it’s too risky and unprecedented for a president to drop out and pick a new ticket at the convention. But this belief is mostly just a disagreement about Biden’s chances of winning. Everybody agrees that finding a new presidential candidate is risky. The disagreement is what to compare this risk against. There’s a level to which Biden could fall — say, down 10 points, or…

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