Written By Miranda Owen
These thoughts reflect my non-partisan coverage of NC State’s SPIA event, “Postelection Analysis: What Happened and Why” with Dr. Andrew Taylor and Dr. Steven Greene of NC State’s Political Science Department.
Polls in North Carolina closed at 7:30 p.m. on Election Day, and results began trickling in that night. The election results for North Carolina and for the presidential race are still currently undetermined, but NC State professors Taylor and Greene’s virtual postelection analysis event helped dissect the results so far.
In examining election results, the professors made it clear the election is not a “done deal” for either candidate, though Greene predicts Joe Biden to likely be declared the next president. Votes are still being counted in Nevada, North Carolina, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, and it’s likely that most of the outstanding mail-in ballots lean Democrat.
Similarly to 2016, this election has exposed the deficiencies in polling. Pre-election polls again severely underestimated Trump’s success and contrary to their predictions, the election is a close one. Can the polling industry survive these errors, two presidential elections in a row? Greene believes that polling isn’t going anywhere, but in the future political scientists will be more wary of close polling results. Taylor cited the “shy Trump voter” and “Trump effect” which make it more difficult to poll Trump supporters as possible contributions toward the polling discrepancies.
Another concern brought up in the 2020 election is the Electoral College. As David Frum from The Atlantic said, “it should not take the largest voter turnout in [American] history to guarantee that a president rejected by the majority of the American people actually stops being president.” Greene criticized the Electoral College: “we’re obviously the only country that does it this way,” and asserting that it is clearly too easy for a minority candidate to take the electoral victory. Taylor spoke of potential reform to this system, such as choosing electoral college votes by Congressional Districts like in Maine and Nebraska.
This election has been one of the most interesting presidential races in history. When will we get results? Most news outlets predict election results by the end of this week, but no one knows when final results will be available. My advice: stop doom-scrolling, unclench your jaw, and do whatever it is you do for self-care.