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Tennessean Opinion Editor David Plazas spoke to William Lyons, Knoxville political columnist and University of Tennessee professor, on June 2, 2020.

Nashville Tennessean

I used to conduct surveys. Issues with reliability and changing technology have made polling so much harder and less precise as we saw with the 2020 election.

Story Highlights

  • William Lyons has worked as a political science professor at University of Tennessee and adviser to Knoxville mayors.

For the second straight presidential election year, it was a bad day for the pollsters.

In 2016, there had been a three-point divergence between the late election surveys. This year it was closer to 6% nationally and often higher in key states.

And the divergence was not random. The polls were off in the same direction.

I used to be a pollster, or more properly, a member of