Charlotte Talks: Who's Up, Who's Down, And Does It Matter? Making Sense Of Election Polls

Aug 22, 2018

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Election forecasters, from The New York Times and NPR to Five Thirty-Eight, had Hillary Clinton rolling to victory on Election Day 2016.
Credit The New York Times / Five Thirty-Eight

It's election season, which means there will be plenty of polls gauging whether a "blue wave" or Republican tide will hold Congress. Given that forecasts of a Hillary Clinton win in 2016 were off the mark, should we pay attention to polls for the midterms? Mike Collins talks with the head of elections and surveys for CBS News, Anthony Salvanto.

For the next two months, pollsters will be fanning out across the country in hopes of taking voters' pulses on the upcoming midterms.

Pollsters have taken their share of lumps since election night 2016, when Donald Trump defied the odds and cruised to an Electoral College victory. The pre-election polls and forecasts had Hillary Clinton easily winning.

How big of a grain of salt should we have on hand for the surveys for the midterms? Did the people whose forecasts were wrong in 2016 learn anything from that error?

Credit Simon and Schuster

Anthony Salvanto, who's in charge of CBS News' elections and surveys, takes readers behind the scenes of the 2016 election in his new book in hopes of getting a better understanding of polls.

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Anthony Salvanto, director of elections and surveys for CBS News; author of Where Did You Get This Number? A Pollster's Guide to Making Sense of the World (@SalvantoCBS)