What Next

Not All of the Polls Were Wrong

A conversation with the Iowa pollster who called this election right.

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Episode Notes

In the lead-up to the 2020 election, Iowa polls had Biden and Trump running neck and neck to win the state’s 6 electoral votes. However, one poll in late October showed that Trump had taken a 7-point lead over Biden. Many political observers and Democrats dismissed it as an outlier, insisting that Iowa was up for grabs. On election night? Trump won Iowa by just over 8 points.

How did Ann Selzer see this coming? And what does the “Outlier Queen” have to say about the state of her industry?

Guest: Ann Selzer, public opinion pollster and president of Selzer & Company.

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Podcast production by Mary Wilson, Jayson De Leon, Danielle Hewitt, Elena Schwartz, and Frannie Kelley.

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About the Show

The problem with the news right now? It’s everywhere. And each day, it can feel like we’re all just mindlessly scrolling. It’s why we created What Next. This short daily show is here to help you make sense of things. When the news feels overwhelming, we’re here to help you answer: What next? Look for new episodes every weekday morning.

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  • Mary Harris is the host and managing editor of What Next, Slate's new daily news podcast. She has reported throughout the public radio system, for NPR, Marketplace, and WNYC.

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