Salary Survey Extra: The next President of the United States
Posted on
January 14, 2021

Salary Survey Extra is a series of dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our annual Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

The new President of the United States is Joe Biden. How many Salary Survey respondents predicted Biden's win correctly?

Here's a pop quiz for political junkies (as well as citizens of the world at large): On Jan. 20, [Fill in the blank] will the take the oath of office of President of the United States. The answer is easy — it's Joe Biden, or as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court John Roberts is likely to say, "Joseph Robinette Biden Jr." — but it did take a few days to determine that answer back in early November.

And, as has become known around the world over the past weeks and months, a certain vocal segment of the American public has had trouble accepting that result Past U.S. presidents have generally conceded the result of past presidential elections within the first full day after the election is held, but Donald Trump still hasn't said publicly that Joe Biden will be the next president.

Prior to the election's being held, most people were probably expecting some level of denial regarding its outcome, should that outcome favor Biden. In the months leading up to the election, Trump made no secret of the fact that he would consider any outcome other than his re-election to be illegitimate. Still, when certified IT professionals were actually taking our 2021 Salary Survey, few probably suspected what was actually in store.

At the end of every Salary Survey, we ask a handful of off-topic questions generally intended to help survey takers blow off a little steam after filling in a lot of blanks. We often get a bit hung up on current events when we're writing those questions. In the 2020 Salary Survey, for example, we asked survey respondents which contender they expected to lock up the Democratic presidential nomination.

Last fall, we included the obvious follow-up: With voters having determined that the final decision would be between Biden and Trump, well, who would win? Here's how survey respondents called it:

Q: Who will win the U.S. presidential election?

Donald Trump — 17.5 percent
Joe Biden — 37.8 percent
Who am I, Nostradamus? — 18.8 percent
Q told me that the election will be postponed due to the arrival of Commander Zorbatron of the Galactic Empire. — 5.9 percent
It depends on who Vladimir Putin chooses. — 9 percent
I waited until Dec. 29 to take the survey so I would know the answer. — 11.1 percent

More than a third of those surveyed either predicted a Biden victory outright, or took the survey late enough in November (we didn't shut things down until Nov. 27) that the outcome was either already known, or heavily foreshadowed. So maybe we shouldn't give those folks too much credit for the prescience.

Fewer than one-fifth of respondents predicted a Trump victory. More, in fact, chose to punt than make a solid guess. Or maybe the punters just liked the idea of associating themselves with the 16th-century French astrologer and physician whose name is still synonymous with prophetic powers.

We gave a friendly nod to the possible efforts of Vladimir Putin and the very real efforts of Q (whoever that actually is) to interfere in the election. Q appears to have successfully made more of a fuss than Big Bad Vlad, though it's certainly possible that either (or both) of them directly stoked the frustrations and delusions that boiled over into the horrific (if brief) attack on the U.S. Capitol last week.

Here's one prediction we can make with a high degree of certainty: There's not another presidential election until 2024. Ergo, there will almost certainly not be a presidential election question lurking at the end of the Salary Survey this year. Come back in late August or early September to find out!

About the Author

Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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