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Author Topic: Who was the most accurate national pollster this year?  (Read 9021 times)
Sam Spade
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« on: December 15, 2008, 10:43:56 pm »
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Obama won by 7.25%.  Since the electoral vote was done today, I doubt this will change - right Alcon?

If I've missed anything, let me know and I'll add.

From Top to Bottom (according to RCP - which excludes ARG)
1. IBD/TIPP (O+7.2%)
2. (tie) CNN/Opinion Research (O+7.0%)
FOX News (ditto)
Ipsos-McClatchy (ditto)
5. NBC/WSJ (O+8.0%)
ARG (ditto)
7. (tie) Pew Research (O+6.0%)
Rasmussen Reports (ditto)
9. (tie) ABC News/Washington Post (O+9.0%)
CBS News/NY Times (ditto)
Marist (ditto)
12. (tie) Battleground (Lake) (O+5.0%)
Daily Kos/R2K (ditto)
Diageo/Hotline (ditto)
15. Gallup (O+11.0%)
16. Zogby (O+11.4%)
17. Battleground (Tarrance) (O+1.9%)
« Last Edit: December 28, 2008, 10:09:05 pm by Sam Spade »Logged
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« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2008, 10:51:04 pm »
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Wow, that's one hell of a Bradley Effect.
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« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2008, 11:39:58 pm »
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I actually don't think Ohio has certified yet, but nationally I can't imagine it'll be anything remarkably different than what it is now.
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ℒief
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« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2008, 12:00:24 am »
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ARG was surprisingly good. CNN really did much better than most people gave it credit for pre-election, in state polls as well (if I remember correctly; been a while since I looked at them). Rasmussen was pretty middling, especially compared to their reputation.
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« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2008, 09:54:23 pm »
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I wonder what caused Gallup to implode.  They even seemed to attempt to be conservative with their estimates since they provided three different ones.
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Mr. Morden
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« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2008, 05:12:33 pm »
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"Pollster accuracy" is inherently unmeasurable, IMHO.  Yes, you can measure the accuracy of the final poll before the election, but the final poll before the election isn't that useful, as it's coming out just a few hours before you're going to find out the election results anyway.  We follow polls not to figure out who's going to win just a few hours ahead of time, but to track the campaign weeks and months in advance of election day.  Does this kind of "pollster accuracy" comparison really measure that?

Here's a plot of IBD/TIPP, compared to the pollster.com regression line that combines all polls, for the final weeks before the election:



IBD/TIPP leaned several points more towards McCain than the overall polling average during most of the final weeks of the campaign, but they both converged to about the same number on election day.  So who was right?  Was IBD/TIPP right, and Obama only led McCain by 2-4 points or so in the final weeks, but then surged to a 7 point lead at the end?  Or was the overall polling average right, which had Obama's lead over McCain remaining relatively constant in the final weeks?

We can also look at the trendlines for all of the individual trackers:



This is supposed to "prove" that IBD/TIPP is a great pollster, while Gallup is bad?  Uh....OK.

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« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2008, 10:54:30 pm »
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I wonder what caused Gallup to implode.  They even seemed to attempt to be conservative with their estimates since they provided three different ones.

Duh, it was the Bradley Effect!
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« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2009, 11:20:48 am »
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One thing that's interesting with that pollster national trend line is that Obama had already taken back the lead pre 9/15 (and of course, his lead was never outside the margin of error even post GOP convention/pre 9/15 at any point, either); the race was already on its way to returning to its pre convention equilbrium of a 3-4 point Obama lead. Hence why I strongly disagree with the idea that McCain would've won if the crisis hadn't hit before Election Day.
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« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2009, 08:47:38 pm »
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Yep. The national numbers conformed pretty much exactly to what Nate Silver had predicted before the conventions. The only reason McCain was tied in early September was because of his convention/VP bounce, which was bound to fade eventually.
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Nym90
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« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2009, 11:06:21 am »
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Yep. The national numbers conformed pretty much exactly to what Nate Silver had predicted before the conventions. The only reason McCain was tied in early September was because of his convention/VP bounce, which was bound to fade eventually.

Very true. What's the over/under on how many times we'll have to rebut the "McCain would've won if not for the financial crisis" argument over the next 4 years?

My guess is approximately the same number of times we've had to rebut the "Bush would've won in 1992 if Perot hadn't run" argument.
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« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2009, 03:02:46 pm »
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Republicans like to deligitimize every Democratic victory. 1960 was stolen, 1976 was only because of Watergate, 1992/96 were because Perot was the spoiler, 2008 was because of the financial meltdown.
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Nym90
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« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2009, 01:56:38 am »
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Republicans like to deligitimize every Democratic victory. 1960 was stolen, 1976 was only because of Watergate, 1992/96 were because Perot was the spoiler, 2008 was because of the financial meltdown.

1932 was because of the Depression. 1940 and 1944 were because of World War II. 1964 was just a sympathy vote for JFK.
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« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2009, 03:07:10 pm »
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The IBD and Zogby polls are amusing... note the huge surge in both on the very last day.
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« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2009, 07:43:25 am »
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Yep. The national numbers conformed pretty much exactly to what Nate Silver had predicted before the conventions. The only reason McCain was tied in early September was because of his convention/VP bounce, which was bound to fade eventually.

Very true. What's the over/under on how many times we'll have to rebut the "McCain would've won if not for the financial crisis" argument over the next 4 years?

My guess is approximately the same number of times we've had to rebut the "Bush would've won in 1992 if Perot hadn't run" argument.
Are you aware of Naomi Klein's phrase, "daily non-negotiable chore"?
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« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2009, 11:58:07 pm »
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The IBD and Zogby polls are amusing... note the huge surge in both on the very last day.

With the exceptions of Gallup and Zogby, all the polls kind of converged towards the right answer in the final days of polling.  But those polls that converged on the right answer at the very end were all going in different directions throughout the rest of the campaign.  Which shows how stupid measurements of "pollster accuracy" are.

What you really want to be able to measure is how accurate are the polls weeks or months before the election.  But unfortunately, that's objectively unmeasurable, since you have no way of knowing for sure what the correct answer is.

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Nym90
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« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2009, 02:03:07 am »
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Yep. The national numbers conformed pretty much exactly to what Nate Silver had predicted before the conventions. The only reason McCain was tied in early September was because of his convention/VP bounce, which was bound to fade eventually.

Very true. What's the over/under on how many times we'll have to rebut the "McCain would've won if not for the financial crisis" argument over the next 4 years?

My guess is approximately the same number of times we've had to rebut the "Bush would've won in 1992 if Perot hadn't run" argument.
Are you aware of Naomi Klein's phrase, "daily non-negotiable chore"?

I am now. Smiley
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