How accurate are election polls? Some people don’t believe them at all

How accurate are election polls? Some people don’t believe them at all

WASHINGTON — There has been a lot of talk about which candidate is leading national polls a week ahead of the presidential election, but there are plenty of people who don’t believe the polls at all because of what happened in 2016.

In the 2016 election, pollsters took heat because the polls suggested Hillary Clinton would win big over Donald Trump. That didn’t happen, and now there is doubt over the accuracy of polls.

If you want to receive national news alerts, please download our WPXI News App. You can also follow WPXI on Facebook and Twitter.

Content Continues Below

Behind the scenes, the campaigns are very aware of the polls that suggest former Vice President Joe Biden has a lead -- and in some parts of the country, a comfortable lead.

President Trump again is telling his supporters what he said in 2016 -- that the polls are wrong. This time around, he is hoping it motivates his supporters to vote.

“I’m urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully," Trump said.

Democrats are also pushing to remind people of 2016.

“We can’t have any doubt. We can’t be complacent. I don’t care about the polls. There were a whole bunch of polls last time ... didn’t work out," said former President Barack Obama. "Because a whole bunch of folks stayed at home and got lazy and complacent.”

Some of those polls were within the margin of error. Tom Bevan, with Real Clear Politics, said it wasn’t the polls that were wrong in 2016. It was the pundits, but people should still be skeptical.

“I think there is also a degree of skepticism out there and open mindedness to the fact that even though Donald Trump is behind ... this race is not over and if, in fact, there is some closing in ... these polls in battleground states, up to Election Day that we could be in for possibly a repeated 2016, or something like that with a very, very close election,” Bevan said.

A leading pollster said if the polls are overwhelmingly wrong this time around, it could put polling out of business for future elections.

Poll watching What does it mean, what do watchers do, what is the law