Why the Polls were Off…and What They Did Tell Us

Down the home stretch, most polls had Biden in the lead with a 10-point advantage. After all the votes were in, the margin in the national popular vote was about 3 percentage points. This is disconcerting to heavy users of polling data — political campaigns and the media, in particular — leaving them to ponder why the polls were off…again! Could it be that rural voters are harder to reach? That calls to landline phones reach a different audience than cell phones? …

In a true democracy, every vote counts and every vote counts equally. State and local elections in the United States operate in accord with this principle. But when it comes to electing a President every four years, the United States is decidedly not a democracy.

The Electoral College exists for the sole purpose of selecting the President of the United States, It is an arcane and idiosyncratic system — the one element of our vaunted democracy that no other nation has seen fit to copy. And no wonder. The Constitution contains no provision whatsoever that a President is elected by…

Bob Lichtenstein, PhD is a psychologist (retired) and author who lives in Boston.

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