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

Sep 10, 2019

Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019

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

Given that forecasts of a Hillary Clinton win in 2016 were off the mark, should we pay attention to polls for the 2020 election?

This program originally aired Aug. 22, 2018

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 2020 election? Did the people whose forecasts were wrong in 2016 learn anything? Did the public misunderstand how polls work?

Anthony Salvanto, who's in charge of CBS News' elections and surveys, takes readers behind the scenes of the 2016 election in his book.


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)