It happened again: Democrats had a good result on Tuesday, despite an ultra-negative late cycle media narrative and a spate of panic-inducing polls. That’s not particularly surprising, or enlightening, on its own. Ever since Donald Trump’s shock victory in 2016, it feels like every November delivers another reckoning for a confused political-media class that struggles with statistics, frequently misreads trends, and misses the forest for the trees. (To wit: Abortion, and the backlash to the Dobbs decision, was once again underappreciated as a motivating factor in state elections, and was subsequently underweighted by analysts.)
Given this perennial disconnect between voters, pollsters, and the media, I reached out to Tom Bonier, a Democratic data consultant who has shown a knack for being right more consistently than just about anyone else. Our conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Abby Livingston: So, what happened last night?