Professor Jeffrey S. Rosenthal, a professor of statistics in the Department of Statistical Sciences at U of T, recently published an article found in the Opinions section of the Globe and Mail discussing polling during the gripping 2020 U.S. presidential election—one that the world had its eyes on. After announcing Joe Biden as the new President-Elect following after what felt like four never-ending days, we can conclude that Donald Trump was not defeated so “easily” as the polls seemed to project. In fact, Rosenthal explains that the polls were not as far off as we thought they were. We are then left with the obvious question: How the heck does polling work?
As Rosenthal describes, polling is not as straightforward as many may understand it to be. His article highlights the complexities of polling, as well as it is many limitations. What happens when there is a low response rate? How do pollsters forecast how people will vote based on a small, non-representative minority? This article answers these questions quite well.
Rosenthal’s piece is as informative as it is enjoyable to read, breaking down a complex issue into an insightful discussion that aims to contribute to our understanding of polling processes for future elections to come.