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Houston Newsmakers: What happened to the accuracy of pre-election polls?


Many polls prior to November 3rd showed former Vice President Biden with enough of a lead to presume he would be a comfortable winner but nothing was farther from the truth. So, what happened? Michael A. Adams, Ph.D. is the Director of the MPA program at the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University and acknowledges there were big problems and says the historic turnout may have played a part. “In this particular cycle I think there were a large swath of new voters coming into the electorate,” he said. “And they may not have been able to survey those or include those in the universe of their samples.” Mark Jones, Ph.D. is also a guest this week and is a Fellow in Political Science at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. He says among other things the polls missed was the Trump impact on the Hispanic vote. “Trump did an unexpectedly good job for many people among Latino voters which helped compensate for some of the Anglo voters he was losing in the suburbs of Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio.” The topic this week will be what happened? What was learned? How will it impact how elections in the future are analyzed.

Now that the election is over, the closeness of the contest and the uncertainty about the way forward continues to be a stressful time for many. What with pandemic issues already in place, the challenge is how to ease that additional stress in our lives. Dr. Asim Shah is the Executive Vice Chairman of the Menninger Department of Psychiatry at Baylor college of Medicine and says “election stress” as it is known is not new. “Election stress is something that existed even hundreds of years ago because people get fixated to the election,” he said. "They get fixated on who THEY think needs to win and if that person doesn’t win the stress is there and the stress persists for a long while in some people. Dr. Shah is a guest on this week’s Houston Newsmakers and talks about the many ways to ease that extra stress we’re all feeling.

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Michael Adams, Ph.D. Director MPA Program, Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs

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