Like four years earlier, they would still have been seriously wrong. Since the announcement of the first results in the US presidential election on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday, still giving Donald Trump every chance of being re-elected against Joe Biden, the polls have been singled out by some observers. Their fault? To have wrongly anticipated a democratic “blue wave”, when the counting is very tight and no one can yet claim victory on Wednesday morning. However, the reality seems less unfavorable for electoral experts, at least for the moment.
At the national level, the site RealClearPolitics, which aggregates many polls, expected a few hours before the poll a score of 51.2% of the vote for Joe Biden and 44% for Donald Trump. The gap is provisionally much smaller this Wednesday at midday (50% vs 48.2% according to the New York Times website ), but it should get bigger in the coming hours.
“There are millions of ballots left to count on the West Coast and they will go overwhelmingly to Biden. In 2016, it was the same: Hillary Clinton had a few hundred thousand votes ahead at this time and she ended up 2.9 million votes ahead when the count ended, ”notes Mathieu Gallard, director of studies at Ipsos, interviewed by Le Parisien.
Several states still undecided
Biden’s final lead in number of votes could also widen depending on the end result in the states that remain undecided, and in particular the three located in the “Rust Belt” to the northeast. of the country: Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Joe Biden was announced comfortably victorious against Donald Trump in Wisconsin (+ 6.7 points) and Michigan (+ 4.2 points), and it looks tighter in Pennsylvania (+ 1.9 points). However, after counting more than three quarters of the ballots, the current American president emerges with a comfortable lead in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
If it wins in the end in one or more of these states, it would be “undoubtedly” a failure for the pollsters, judge Mathieu Gallard, who followed and commented live on this “American night”.
It is nevertheless necessary to wait patiently for the end of the counting of the very many correspondence ballots, by Thursday or Friday, in order to be definitively fixed. And, possibly, to “shoot red balls on pollsters”, according to the expression of political scientist Jean-Eric Branaa. Because this postal voting system could allow Biden to reverse the situation, as it seems already in the process of doing in Wisconsin. And in the American electoral system, it is the large voters “sent” by each state who then elect the president. This is why they “count” more than the number of votes at the national level.
“Purely virtual and sometimes damaged polls”
One thing is already certain: pollsters have had a rather fine nose in the majority of other “Swing states”, these highly disputed states which can tip an election. They had anticipated (while underestimating) a Trump victory in Texas, Iowa and Ohio, according to data from the site RealClearPolitics. The situation is still undecided in North Carolina, where Donald Trump only emerged with a tiny lead. The curves of the voting intentions had crossed there in the last straight line. In Arizona, the two candidates were announced neck and neck but with a small lead for Joe Biden… which materialized at the end of the night.
In contrast, Trump ultimately won in Florida, contrary to what the average forecast predicted (an additional 0.9% for Biden). “Trump held up better than expected in certain places taken in 2016 (Florida, Ohio, Texas) but compared to purely virtual and sometimes damaged polls”, hit on Twitter the eminent historian Corentin Sellin.
“I did not understand that some are attacking pollsters. They announced, more often than not, exactly the result that we have, “points out Jean-Eric Branaa to the Parisian. The specialist of the United States, however, admits having “overreacted to the mobilization thrust announced”, which ultimately did not benefit only the Democrats.
Still, many experts and pollsters had not anticipated such a final suspense. The specialized site FiveThirtyEight gave for example, just before the election, a probability of 89% for a final victory for Biden. For several hours this Wednesday morning, the bookmakers have, on the contrary, bet on a re-election of Donald Trump.
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Original article by : www.leparisien.fr