The first observation I can make about tonight’s election results is that the polls were skewed, after all. Just not in the way Democrats were hoping.
Across the country, Republicans are running way ahead of where they were supposed to be. Races that were supposed to be close are turning into blowouts. Mitch McConnell trounced Alison Lundergan Grimes by 15 points. In Georgia, David Perdue beat Michelle Nunn with more than the 50% needed to avoid a runoff; he never broke 50% in any of the polls. In Colorado, Cory Gardner seems to be winning by a decent margin, and the same for Joni Ernst in Iowa; both victories had been in doubt. In Kansas, Pat Roberts held onto his seat easily, though as a classic Beltway Barnacle, he probably didn’t deserve to.
In Virginia, as of this writing, they are still not calling the Senate race, where Ed Gillespie wasn’t supposed to have a chance. In New Hampshire, where Scott Brown was consistently running behind, he is now refusing to concede because the vote is so close.
So why were the polls off base? Well, clearly there was a last-minute surge in favor of the Republicans. All of the polls did show a last minute move in that direction. But this is another reminder that polling is an inexact science, and all of the arguments beforehand about how accurate the polls are, about who has the best projections and the best methodology, are assuming a degree of precision that is not possible.
As they say, predictions are hard, especially about the future.