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US poll forecasting industry blew itself up. Again

The US election poll forecasting industry has blown itself up again and America woke up to the smouldering embers, finding precious little adjacency in the extreme mathiness from 24 hours ago and the US electoral map.

US poll forecasting industry blew itself up. Again

New York

Four years after most pollsters got the Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump election all mixed up, they seem to have done it all over again. With some exceptions.

Trafalgar - the pollster who correctly called crucial races in 2016 - got Florida right this time. Susquehanna and FOX/Insider Advantage also called Florida for Trump in the final sprint.

Nine states are still to announce results. It's running very, very close and there's lots we still don't know.

Here's what we do know. Polls held just before election day gave Joe Biden an average lead in the high single digits nationally and narrow single digit leads in battlegrounds. On election night, those numbers melted quickly.

The final FiveThirtyEight average of multiple polls, graded on a sliding scale for quality, gave Biden a national lead of almost nine points. Similar projections from other aggregators sparked conversation about a broad rejection of Trump and Trumpism and a recalibration of American politics. Nothing to see there. Not yet.

The morning after, four years into the Trump first term, America is hanging tight to a political colour coding that's all too familiar.

If anything shifted, it's that Trump cruised in all important Florida early on election night. His totals in a key county surpassed his 2016 numbers by more than 100,000 votes.

The changed circumstances, including a national reckoning on racial justice and an ongoing pandemic that has killed more than 231,000 Americans, have barely dented the Trump/Trumpism armour. Not yet.

Insider Advantage, one of the pollsters who got Florida right, told Wall Street Journal that it all comes down to "picking up the average guy on the street".

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