2020 Election Polls
A number of organizations conduct election polls, but the type of poll and the organization conducting it play an important roll in determining whether a poll is legitimate or not. Thankfully, there are a number of reliable and trustworthy polls you can turn to in order to get a general idea of where the 2020 Presidential, Senate, and Governor election races stand during any given point in time.
Joe Biden & Donald Trump Polls
There are a few different types of polls organizations conduct to help track the Presidential race between former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump. These polls track the head-to-head race between the candidates both nationally and at the state level, along with each candidates favorability rating.
Polling organizations also conduct state specific polls, which provides a better snapshot of what voters in individual states think of the various candidates. These state specific polls are especially helpful for candidates because it helps them see their strengths and weaknesses in different states and can help guide their campaign strategy as the election season progresses.
Organizations not only track the head-to-head race between former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump, but also track the approval rating of the individual candidates. While these two often mimic each other, there are sometimes notable differences between a candidates approval rating and where they stand in a head-to-head match up with a different candidate. That's because a voter may give a candidate low approval ratings yet still state they intend to vote for that candidate in the election.
Senate Election Polls
There are 35 United States Senate seats up for election in 2020, a number which includes a special election in Arizona. The Republican Party currently has a 53-47 majority, meaning the Democratic Party needs a gain of three seats if Joe Biden wins the election and four if he does not in order to regain the majority.
Governor Election Polls
There are 11 states holding elections for Governor in 2020. Of those states, four are held by a Democratic incumbent and seven are held by a Republican incumbent.
Established Polling Agencies
There are dozens of organizations and publications that conduct election polls ranging in size and stature from local advocacy groups to national publications and organizations. While there are no regulations governing how polls must be conducted, a few simple tricks can help you determine whether a poll is reliable or not.
Important things to consider when reviewing a national poll are: who conducted and paid for the poll, how many people were interviewed, were interviewees selected at random, whether the interviewees are likely or definite voters, what the sampling error was, and perhaps most importantly, what questions were asked and how were they phrased.
While it's tempting to search for polls that reinforce our preconceived biases, the best way to gauge how a candidate is faring both at the state and national level is by sticking with scientific polls that have a strong track record of fairness and impartiality.
Why Election Polls Are Important
Election polls help candidates, the public, and the media gauge the strengths and weaknesses of a political candidate at a specific point in time. There are variety of polls political campaigns, publications and universities conduct and their results can vary depending on a number of factors, the most important one being whether a poll was scientific or unscientific.
The difference between scientific and unscientific polling is vast. In a scientific poll, the pollster randomly selects the people to be interviewed while participants in an unscientific poll, otherwise known as open-access polls, opt to participate in a poll and therefore skew the results towards a predetermined outcome. The best way to distinguish between the two is by examining who picked the respondents in a given poll.