Election forecasting guru Nate Silver concluded Wednesday, in the wake of Republicans thoroughly throttling Democrats across the map, that the 2014 polls had in fact been skewed — in favor of Democrats.
Going into Election Day, Democrats had to hope that the polls were biased against them — or at least not accounting for their much-touted turnout game. The day after, that looks like a bad joke.
“Based on results as reported through early Wednesday morning — I’ll detail our method for calculating this in a moment — the average Senate poll conducted in the final three weeks of this year’s campaign overestimated the Democrat’s performance by 4 percentage points,” Silver wrote at Five Thirty Eight. “The average gubernatorial poll was just as bad, also overestimating the Democrat’s performance by 4 points.”
In almost every key Senate race — Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Alaska — the pre-election polls favored Democrats. The trend led to a shocked cadre of political observers as Virginia Sen. Mark Warner (D) barely eked out a win in a race that most had written off as an easy hold for Democrats because of the polling.
“Interestingly, this year’s polls were not especially inaccurate. Between gubernatorial and Senate races, the average poll missed the final result by an average of about 5 percentage points — well in line with the recent average,” Silver concluded. “The problem is that almost all of the misses were in the same direction.