T Nation

On the Polls...

Some information to remember for 2006 and 2008 – which of the polls were actually the most credible? See here:

Saturday, November 06th, 2004
State Poll Results

As many people have mentioned this campaign, the National race was really the sum of the many state races. Accordingly, I have recorded the accuracy for the State Polls, along the course of this year, and here I note the accuracy for their final picks. All the information I used was published on Real Clear Politics ( http://www.realclearpolitics.com/bush_vs_kerry_sbys.html ).

There were 50 state races, along with the District of Columbia (for which there were no public polls), and there were 14 states considered ?Battleground?. I noted the calls each poll made for a state, as well as the accuracy for their specific range projections. I also paid attention to which major poll was the closest for a state, and which polls were more than 10 aggregate points in their final poll (which effectively renders a poll useless as an indicator). The results are here, in countdown fashion for the eleven major State Polls:

#11 - The LA Times Poll. the LA Times made predictions in 6 states, and in 5 Battleground States. Nationally, the LAT had 3 calls right, 3 wrong, and was off by an average of 7.67 points. None of their picks was the closest in a state, and one of their final polls was off by more than 10 points. In the Battleground States, the LAT made 2 calls right, 3 wrong, and was off by an average of 7.80 points.

#10 - Fox News Poll. Fox News made predictions in 6 states, all in Battleground States. The FNP made 3 calls right, and 3 wrong, and was off by an average of 8.33 points. None of their picks was the closest in a state, and one of their final polls was off by more than 10 points.

#9 - Quinnipiac University Poll. Quinnipiac made predictions in 5 states, and in 2 Battleground States. The QUP made 4 calls right, and 1 call wrong, and was off by an average of 7.00 points. None of their picks was the closest in a state, and one of their final polls was off by more than 10 points. In the Battleground States, the QUP made 1 call right, 1 call wrong, and was off by an average of 5.50 points.

#8 - American Research Group. ARG made predictions in all 50 states, and in all 14 Battleground States. ARG made 45 calls right, and 5 calls wrong, and was off by an average of 6.84 points. Two of their picks were the closest in a states (not counting those states where ARG was the only major poll to make a pick), and 7 of their final polls were off by more than 10 points. In the Battleground States, ARG made 9 calls right, and 5 calls wrong, and was off by an average of 5.50 points. 1 Battleground call by ARG was the closest of the major polls, and 1 was off by more than 10 points.

#7 - Strategic Vision. SV made predictions in 11 states, and in 7 Battleground States. SV got 7 calls right, and 4 wrong, and was off by an average of 6.27 points. None of their picks was the closest in a state, and one of their final polls was off by more than 10 points. In the Battleground States, SV got 4 calls right, and 3 wrong, and was off by an average of 5.43 points.

#6 - Zogby. Mr. ?John Kerry Will Win? made predictions in 20 states, and in 13 Battleground States. Zogby got 16 calls right, and 4 wrong, and was off by an average of 6.10 points. Two of his final polls were the closest major poll, and another one of his final polls was off by more than 10 points. In the Battleground States, Zogby got 9 right, and 4 wrong, and was off by an average of 4.92 points.

#5 - Mason-Dixon. M-D made predictions in 24 states, and in 13 Battleground States. M-D got 23 calls right, and 1 wrong, and was off by an average of 5.75 points. None of their calls was the closest, but none of their polls was invalidated for being more than 10 points off. In the Battleground States, M-D got 12 right, 1 wrong, and was off by an average of 5.62 points.

#4 - CNN/USA Today/Gallup - CUG made predictions in 15 states, and in 12 Battleground States. CUG got 11 calls right and 4 wrong, and was off by an average of 5.33 points. Two of their final polls was the closest for that state (both in Battleground States), and none of their polls were invalidated for being more than 10 points off. In the Battleground States, CUG got 8 right and 4 wrong, and was off by an average of 5.33 points.

#3 - Research 2000 - R2K made predictions in 13 states, and in 7 Battleground States. R2K got 12 calls right, and 1 wrong, and was off by an average of 5.15 points. One of their final polls was the closest for that state ( in a Battleground State), and none of their polls were invalidated for being more than 10 points off. In the Battleground States, R2K got 6 right and 1 wrong, and was off by an average of 4.57 points.

#2 - A close finish, but number two is Rasmussen Reports. RR made predictions in 33 states, and in 13 Battleground States. RR got all their calls correct, without a single miss, and they were off by an average of 5.82 points. What hurt them was their wide variance of accuracy in support. Three of their final polls were the closest for their state, but another 3 of their final polls were off by more than 10 points. In the Battleground States, RR got all 13 right, and they were off by an average of 4.15 points.

#1 - (drum roll, please) Survey USA. SUSA made predictions in 30 states, and in 9 Battleground States. SUSA got 29 right and 1 wrong, and was off by an average of 3.70 points. So, why does SUSA win with 29/30, and beat RR take second with 33/33? It comes down to hitting the bullseye. EIGHTEEN of Survey USA?s final polls were the closest for that state, almost twice as many as every other major poll PUT TOGETHER! Also, none of their polls were invalidated for being more than 10 points off. In the Battleground States, SUSA got 8 right and 1 wrong, and was off by an average of 3.44 points. Three of SUSA?s final polls in Battleground States were the closest for that state, again the best of any poll.

So, there you have it. Keep these bragging businesses of bluster in mind by the way they handled the job this year. We report, you decide. Then you write your comments, then someone else writes their comments - well, you know the rest.