The Politics of Polling: Why the winner of the 2020 US Presidential Election is a ‘known unknown’

In terms of functionality, polls are being used for three different purposes in the US: to forecast election outcomes, understand voter behaviour and plan campaign strategy.

While there is merit in the concept of well thought out research methodology accurately predicting results, the fact that voters’ behaviour is going to be impacted by the unprecedented nature of the issues surrounding the 2020 US Presidential Election – making this an unknown unknown – is likely to make forecasting difficult. As the year unfolds in terms of how the novel coronavirus affects the US economy and society, the trajectory of the election is also likely to change. At this point, the winner of the 2020 US Presidential Election is truly a known unknown.

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