The polls are going to drive people to madness, the people that is who obesess about polls. Just because so much of polling is garbage, however, does not mean all polling is garbage.

It might happen that Biden has a sweep, that can’t be ruled out, if he really, truly is ahead by 7.8% nationally (today’s RCP average). That’s double the Hillary national average advantage.

But there are just too many things that don’t align with that narrative, that suggest the national averages not only may be more wrong than in 2016, they may be particularly wrong in the swing states that matter and will decide who wins the electoral college.

I never thought of Iowa as a swing state, but it probably is. Obama won it by 9 points in 2008 and 5 points in 2012, Trump won it by almost 10 points in 2016.

Iowa also famously recently was put by the Cook Political Report into the toss-up column for both the presidential and Senate races, suggesting Trump was going down hard if he was barely hanging on in a state he won easily in 2016. Man, if Trump is running 10 points behind 2016 and Joni Ernst is in serious trouble, then maybe those national averages are right. Depressing.


The Des Moines Register just published its final polls, showing Trump up by a lot and Ernst up by several points.

First, the presidential race, Iowa Poll: Donald Trump takes over lead in Iowa as Joe Biden fades:

Republican President Donald Trump has taken over the lead in Iowa as Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden has faded, a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows just days before Election Day.

The president now leads by 7 percentage points over Biden, 48% to 41%. Three percent say they will vote for someone else, 2% aren’t sure and 5% don’t want to say for whom they will vote.

In September’s Iowa Poll, the candidates were tied at 47% to 47%.

The poll of 814 likely Iowa voters was conducted by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines from Oct. 26-29. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

Nate Cohn notes:

Trump leads the final Selzer poll of Iowa by 7 points, 48 to 41.

That’s the same margin as their final poll four years ago, which wound up foreshadowing Trump’s Midwestern sweep

Note that this change reflects a Biden collapse. If Biden is collapsing this late in Iowa, it’s reasonable to assume he has a late collapse elsewhere in the Midwest that might not yet be captured in polling:

Now the Senate, where Democrats have been going hard against Joni Ernst, Iowa Poll: Republican Joni Ernst pulls ahead of Democrat Theresa Greenfield in closing days of U.S. Senate race:

Republican U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst has pulled ahead of Democrat Theresa Greenfield in the closing stretch of a contentious U.S. Senate race, according to a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll.

Ernst leads 46% to 42% over Greenfield, the Iowa Poll shows. Another 3% say they plan to vote for someone else, 1% do not plan to vote in the Senate race, 3% are unsure and 4% already voted but did not want to say which candidate they support.

The poll of 814 likely Iowa voters was conducted by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines from Oct. 26-29. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points….

In June, Greenfield led Ernst by 3 percentage points, 46% to 43%. In September, Greenfield maintained that 3-percentage-point lead, 45% to 42%. The margin of error for both of those polls was plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

Something’s happening here. It could be that there is a late Trump surge, and the late-deciders are breaking for Trump as they did in 2016. It could be that Republican chances of hanging onto the Senate are better than thought.

The Des Moines Register final polling may be wrong, but it’s a sign that it ain’t over, until it’s over — which in the case of several states will be days after Election Day.


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