Wisconsin Dem Chair Tells of Dismissing Absurd Polls, Including One Showing Biden Up 17% in a State He Won by 0.6%


The Wisconsin Democratic Party chair, Ben Wikler, recalled dismissing the wave of sometimes absurd polls in his state during the campaign, including one survey that claimed Democratic challenger Joe Biden was beating President Donald Trump by 17 points leading up to Election Day.

Biden ended up winning Wisconsin by just 20,000 votes, or 0.6% (though the Trump campaign has filed a petition for a recount). The final RealClearPolitics average in the state had Biden up by nearly seven percentage points.

“The thing is, we fought everywhere,” Wikler told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Wednesday night. “Democratic turnout was up in every part of the state. It’s not red places getting redder, it’s blue places getting bluer. There were more Democrats in every community in our state. It’s just that with the Republican operation, Trump fired up a lot of people who were not showing up in polls. The polling error was similar to 2016. We’ve been saying you have to fight as though you’re two points behind even if the polls show you’re six points up. Thank goodness they did, because every piece made a difference.”

“You and I have spoken, and you’ve always had the kind of haunted look, and temperament of someone who thinks they’re in a 20,000-vote margin kind of race,” Hayes jokingly said.

“You know, we had to keep telling each other to ignore the polls, Wikler said, before referencing an ABC/Washington Post poll that had Biden beating Trump 57 – 40 in late October. “There was one poll that said we were 17 points up in the last two weeks, and you just had to crumple that up and throw it in the garbage and fight like the next call could be the one that found the the voter who tipped the entire Electoral College.”

On Fox News on Wednesday, Republican pollster Frank Luntz had also called out that same ABC/WaPo survey, accusing it of “polling malpractice,” saying you’d have to go to “tremendous lengths” to be so far off. That critique was part of a much larger condemnation of the polling industry, which for the second presidential election in a row, made glaring errors in missing a broad swath of Trump voters.

Watch the video above, via MSNBC.

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