Polls and op-eds have arrived nonstop as the midterm elections close in. The genuine countdown is on. Yet despite the onslaught of survey numbers and deep thoughts, the findings are inconclusive. Grand predictions and confident consensus among pollsters and pundits about the outcome of the elections are scarce. And no wonder. They remember what happened in 2016 when things went awry and President Trump won the White House despite their expert opinions and intricate surveys.
Some journalists appear to have little sympathy.
“Blowing smoke: Sorry, pundits, but you have no clue what will happen on Tuesday,” wrote Vanity Fair columnist Peter Hamby.
“The myth of the election prediction wizard is no more,” observed Andrew Prokop, a columnist for Vox.
Those pundits and pollsters are leery of issuing grandiose predictions at this point. Some might even admit they simply don’t know what to think.
And perhaps the polling apparatus itself is to blame.
“It’s typical. There’s always some confusion just prior to elections,” veteran pollster Patrick Caddell tells Inside the Beltway, pointing out that despite technology which has made polling nimble, it can be a challenge to get verified respondents.
“The refusal rates on polls is incredible,” says Mr. Caddell, who anecdotally cites a recent research effort which required 42,000 calls of inquiry to yield some 600 authentic respondents.