With a neck-in-neck 2020 presidential race continuing to tighten, substantial doubt is being cast on the American polling apparatus.
The most notable hiccup in the pre-election polls, however, came not on the path to Pennsylvania Avenue, but on a down-ballot race in left-leaning Maine.
According to the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, incumbent Republican Sen. Susan Collins has successfully fended off a serious challenge to her long-held seat, securing a fifth term in the Senate.
“I just received a very gracious call from Sara Gideon conceding the race,” Collins said in a public address Wednesday.
— Susan Collins for Senator (@SenSusanCollins) November 4, 2020
“I feel like this is an affirmation of the work that I’ve been doing in Washington to fight for the people of Maine every day,” she also said.
As of Thursday morning, Collins was leading Democratic challenger Sara Gideon by roughly 53,000 votes with 84 percent of the total in, The New York Times reported.
The numbers represented a 7 percentage point lead, and flew in the face of polling which forecast Gideon carrying the state by margins of up to 12 percentage points this fall, according to RealClearPolitics.
Between Sept. 10 and Oct. 31, respected pollsters at Emerson, Quinnipiac, Boston Globe/Suffolk and New York Times/Siena came up short in a big way, having projected Gideon to win by at least 5 percentage points.
Not a single survey in the RealClearPolitics polling average showed Collins winning.
The upset victory comes little more than one week after the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett — a process in which the moderate senator broke with her 52 GOP colleagues, becoming the only member of the Senate to vote outside party lines in opposition to President Donald Trump’s nominee.
Collins’ decision to stand in opposition was supposedly a matter of principle rather than distaste for the nominee, however, fueled by the desire to deny major election year Supreme Court nominations, as was done with Obama-era Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.
It was apparently the right play, doing little to demotivate the senator’s Republican base Tuesday, and potentially helping her make inroads with independent and centrist Democratic voters (though you wouldn’t be able to tell from the polls conducted in the days leading up to the election).
Not a single poll public poll of Maine released since February showed Susan Collins ahead in her Senate race. Quinnipiac's last poll in the state said Collins would lose by 12.
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) November 4, 2020
This is an excerpt from The Western Journal. For the full version, click here.