Princeton Election Consortium

Innovations in democracy since 2004

Outcome: Biden 306 EV (D+1.2% from toss-up), Senate 50 D (D+1.0%)
Nov 3 polls: Biden 342 EV (D+5.3%), Senate 50-55 D (D+3.9%), House control D+4.6%
Moneyball states: President AZ NE-2 NV, Senate MT ME AK, Legislatures KS TX NC

The Senate polling desert

September 16th, 2020, 8:49am by Sam Wang

Plenty of polls for the Presidency – but there’s a polling desert in all-important Senate races. How does this affect your activism? There are two places where you can hedge your efforts, either by preventing gerrymandering for a decade or by influencing the Presidential race.

This table shows the number of polls in top Senate races in 2016 and 2020. The first two columns use toss-up races as defined by RealClearPolitics. Indiana is excluded because state law there requires polls to be done by live-caller only. The last column shows our top voter-power states.

As you can see, polling dropped off a cliff in mid-September. I don’t know why – maybe attention on the Presidential race. Or maybe the tough financial position of newsrooms today.

There’s one place where your efforts help both a key Senate race and also help fight partisan gerrymandering: Johnson County, Kansas. Any votes turned out there also affect the Senate race.

Another possibility is Alaska, where – if the Presidential race is tighter than polls indicate – the per-voter power of Trump/Biden supporters is unusually high. In that case, give to the Senate race of Al Gross (D/I) against incumbent Dan Sullivan (R).

The Kansas and Alaska organizations are featured in the right ActBlue sidebar for Democrats. Corresponding Republicans are listed in the WinRed.

Tags: 2020 Election · Redistricting · Senate

4 Comments so far ↓

  • ArcticStones

    It looks like we are finally getting some of the longed-for polls of underpolled Senate races – and more are hopefully right around the corner.

    However, I cannot help but notice that PEC’s meta-margin for the House has fallen to a mere 2 %, from a high of 6.8 %.

    Is this a reason for concern? Could this be a harbinger of more general Republican gains? Or am I overly alarmed?

    • Sam Wang

      Low N I think, only 3 polls. Dominated by Dornsife. Could be true, not sure. Senate data will probably be clarifying.

  • RonInMD

    Does the possible over-performance among white non-college and under-performance among non-white voters by Biden have implications for the electoral college Republican/Trump lean?

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