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How Did The Pollsters Do?

Thursday, June 10, 2010  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The Race
Result May Poll April Poll

CA Senate Fiorina 35 Fiorina-15 Fiorina-7

CA Gov Whitman 38 Whitman 2 Whitman 22

NV Senate Angle 16 Angle-1 Angle-25

Ark Senate Lincoln 4 Lincoln-4 Lincoln 12

SC Gov Haley 27 Haley 10 Haley-7(March)

There are scores and scores of polls from which to pick data points, and I use these 15 different polls to illustrate that their is either incredible volatility in the electorate, that pollsters don’t know what they are doing, or that pollsters tweak their samples to get results they or their clients want –or all three.

The key takeaway of course is not to allow any poll or set of polls to influence coverage or behavior as there is very good reason to distrust any particular result, and even sets of polls from a particular point in time.

DailyKos fired its pollster yesterday. Given the terrible track record of other firms, other employers ought to stop paying the invoices as well. This isn’t a new story —Minneapolis Star Tribune readers have been treated to terrible results year-in, year-out by the obviously lefty operators of that charade known as The Minnesota Poll— but it is particularly relevant in a year in which new voters and deeply felt convictions are roiling the political waters.


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