A recently developed nonempirical local approximation to the optical potential is applied to electron‐argon scattering. The real part of the optical potential is taken as the sum of static, exchange, and polarization terms and the imaginary part is modeled by using the quasi‐free scattering approximation with Pauli blocking. The main emphasis in the present paper is on the polarization and absorption effects. Three approximations to the polarization potential are used; they are based on an ab initio adiabatic polarization potential, without or with scmiclassical nonadiabatic corrections. The results are compared to existing experimental measurements for the energy range 30–3000 eV. We obtain good agreement with experiment for total and absorption cross sections and for the small‐angle differential cross sections.