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Matt Singh

We Are Finally Getting Better at Polls

After a few disastrous years of taking and analyzing polls, the industry is making changes that should result in greater accuracy.
New forecasting methods.

New forecasting methods.

Photographer: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

Back in late 2016, following a year of political upsets, I argued here that political polling and forecasting wasn’t dead but needed to adapt. Fast forward a little over a year, and change is already apparent.

Polls in the U.K. badly missed in the 2015 general election, showing a tied result when then Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron’s party emerged with a six-and-a-half-point margin of victory. They wrongly predicted a Remain victory in the 2016 referendum on European Union membership, and were wildly off-target again in the 2017 general election. In the U.S., state polls — particularly in states where whites without college degrees are numerous — missed key swing-state victories for Donald Trump in 2016.