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What’s the Matter With America?

Dan Drezner writes about what is making electoral politics tough today, via his Washington Post column.

The race to explain the 2020 election outcome is on, and to be honest, the hard-working staff here is unimpressed with the efforts put forward to date. Part of the problem is that a healthy fraction of these takes are simply people doubling down on their pre-election analyses: “The GOP was right to minimize the pandemic,” for example, or “Trafalgar really nailed the outcome!” takes that look worse with each passing day.

An even bigger part of the problem is that too many pundits are relying on bad exit poll data from either AP VoteCast or Edison. There are some issues there, particularly with Edison. One exit poll has college-educated White women going for President Trump by a point; the other has this exact same demographic group voting for Biden by 20 points. That is a serious discrepancy. As political scientist Lee Drutman told Wired’s Gilad Edelman, “Any smart person at this point knows not to make any judgments about the electorate from exit polls, because the sampling methodology is just totally off.” Or, as Drutman summed up: “Exit polls are garbage.”

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