Longtime Republican pollster Frank Luntz says his industry is “done” after major forecasts were way off in projecting outcomes in the 2020 general election.
What are the details?
As numbers rolled in during the tight race between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Tuesday night, Luntz told Axios, “The political polling profession is done.” He added, “It is devastating for my industry.”
National polls leading up to Election Day showed Biden held a commanding advantage over Trump, but the two candidates were neck and neck out of the gate and remained in a heated battle so close Wednesday that lawsuits were already filed.
The Hill pointed out that “beyond the presidential election…many pollsters were projecting that Democrats would gain House seats and the Senate majority,” adding that, “Instead, it appears that Republicans will gain House seats and that the party has a strong chance of keeping control of the Senate.”
On Twitter, Luntz pointed to the fact that GOP Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) was behind challenger Sara Gideon (D) in 14 major polls as Nov. 3 approached, but ended up winning by several points. He called the widespread inaccuracy “a systemic failure.”
Systematic failure. https://t.co/lPKVA6PNnO
— Frank Luntz (@Frank Luntz)1604515730.0
Nearly two weeks ago, Luntz told Fox News that if President Trump wins and defies the polls as he did in 2016, his “profession is done.”
“I hate to acknowledge it, because that’s my industry — at least partially — but the public will have no faith, no confidence.” Luntz told anchor Bret Baier. “Right now, the biggest issue is the trust deficit.”
He added, “Pollsters did not do a good job in 2016. So, if Donald Trump surprises people, if Joe Biden had a 5- or 6-point lead, my profession is done.”
Luntz issued an apology to fellow pollster John McLaughlin on Wednesday, saying McLaughlin beat “mainstream pollsters” with his predictions that Trump would have a strong showing in “key Rust Best states.” Luntz had earlier said of McLaughlin’s projections: “I don’t believe it. But if he’s right, he’s a genius. If he’s wrong, I wonder if he’ll ever work again.”
During an interview with CNBC on Wednesday, Luntz was asked if he was surprised by the outcomes of the election thus far. “My single biggest surprise is not something that you guys have been talking about, which is that it looks like the Republicans will keep control of the Senate,” he replied.
“My second biggest surprise,” he continued, “is that the pollsters at CNN and a few other places have not apologized for the numbers that are completely wrong.”
GOP pollster Frank Luntz on how the 2020 polls were ‘completely wrong’