Our latest book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses state and congressional elections.
Jim Rutenberg, Ken Bensinger and Steve Eder at NYT:
Traditional nonpartisan pollsters, after years of trial and error and tweaking of their methodologies, produced polls that largely reflected reality. But they also conducted fewer polls than in the past.
That paucity allowed their accurate findings to be overwhelmed by an onrush of partisan polls in key states that more readily suited the needs of the sprawling and voracious political content machine — one sustained by ratings and clicks, and famished for fresh data and compelling narratives.
The skewed red-wave surveys polluted polling averages, which are relied upon by campaigns, donors, voters and the news media. It fed the home-team boosterism of an expanding array of right-wing media outlets — from Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast and “The Charlie Kirk Show” to Fox News and its top-rated prime-time lineup. And it spilled over into coverage by mainstream news organizations, including The Times, that amplified the alarms being sounded about potential Democratic doom.
The virtual “bazaar of polls,” as a top Republican strategist called it, was largely kept humming by right-leaning pollsters using opaque methodology, in some cases relying on financial support from hyperpartisan groups and benefiting from vociferous cheerleading by Mr. Trump.
“These frothy polls had a substantial, distorting impact on how people spent money — on campaign strategy, and on people’s expectations going into the election,” said Steven J. Law, the chief executive of the Republicans’ Senate Leadership Fund, which poured $280 million into the midterms. Its own private polling showed no red wave at all.