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Politics Podcast: One Special Election Can’t Forecast The Midterms

Democrat Melanie Stansbury won a special election in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District by a 25-point margin on Tuesday, performing better than Democrats did in the district in 2020. It’s tempting to use the special election to gauge the national political environment, but in this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, the crew explains why one election alone isn’t a reliable indicator.

The team also debates whether phone or online polling is a better tool for assessing Americans’ views on sensitive topics like the death penalty. And they preview a forthcoming report on how FiveThirtyEight’s forecast models did in 2020.

You can listen to the episode by clicking the “play” button in the audio player above or by downloading it in iTunes, the ESPN App or your favorite podcast platform. If you are new to podcasts, learn how to listen.

The FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast is recorded Mondays and Thursdays. Help new listeners discover the show by leaving us a rating and review on iTunes. Have a comment, question or suggestion for “good polling vs. bad polling”? Get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments.

Galen Druke is FiveThirtyEight’s podcast producer and reporter.

Nate Silver is the founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.

Sarah Frostenson is FiveThirtyEight’s former politics editor.

Nathaniel Rakich is a senior editor and senior elections analyst at FiveThirtyEight.