American Action News had the pleasure to speak with Paul Westcott, the senior vice president at L2, one of America’s leading voter and consumer data firms, about what the polls and pundits got wrong this election:
Paul and his colleagues noticed data trends in voter registration that pollsters evidently missed. He explained how movement this year aligned with what we witnessed in 2016 when similar spreads either incorrectly predicted Secretary Clinton winning the presidency or being ahead substantially in must-win states.
Republican turnout, in particular, didn’t match what the pundit class expected this cycle. Only after reports emerged of higher-than-expected GOP turnout in places like Miami-Dade County did many Democrats start feeling uneasy. By then it was too late to flip Florida.
Getting to the crux of what political prognosticators did wrong, Paul noted, “When you’re looking at creating a sample for a poll, one of the big things is how are you going to weigh it? How are you going to determine who’s a likely voter in that election?” It’s a critical lesson for pollsters desperately seeking relevance after subpar performances in two consecutive elections.
The “shy Trump voter,” reluctant to share their opinion for fear of being judged — but eager to vote for the president — yet again showed up in droves, having electoral implications far beyond Florida.
The Republican Party cemented its majorities in crucial state legislatures, giving the GOP an edge in the redistricting process. Republican candidates flipped seats in the House from New York to California. Prognosticators like Charlie Cook had predicted a 15-20 seat gain for Democrats. Instead of another blue wave, Republicans may acquire 15 new districts when the dust settles. The GOP seems likely to retain its Senate majority as well.
These results don’t include the presidential election. However, a judge ruled earlier this week that Pennsylvania’s Democrat secretary of state lacked the authority to extend the deadline for voters to provide missing information to validate improperly submitted mail-in ballots.