THOSE CONFLICTING PRESIDENTIAL POLLS – WHAT’S GOING ON?
By VICTORIA JONES
Talk Radio News Service
WASHINGTON – Gallup has Romney up 7 points over Obama. Rasmussen: Romney up 2; Ipsos/Reuters: Obama up 3; IBD/TIPP: Obama up 2; YouGov/Economist: Obama up 1; Daily Kos/SEIU/PPP Romney up 4; UPI/CVOTER: Romney up 3; ARG: Romney up 1; Politico/GWU/Battleground: Obama up 1; ABC/Post: Obama up 1.
It ends up near a dead heat or with a slight advantage to Romney, but clearly showing Gallup as an outlier. So what’s going on?
Nate SIlver’s FiveThirtyEight in the New York Times examines it. His database contains records from 136 distinct pollsters. Of those, 53 are active enough to have issued at least one survey since October first.
What he says is that Gallup has a history of performing very poorly when its results are deeply inconsistent with the results of other polling firms. He says other national polls show a race that is tied on average, while state polls continue to indicate a narrow advantage of about two points for Obama in tipping-point states like Ohio.
FiveThirtyEight’s forecast (winning electoral college 65.7% to Obama currently) is largely on the basis of state polls
* He says that Gallup’s national tracking poll is more influential than any other individual poll series in his trend-line calculation, but still accounts for only about 12% of it. His research suggests that state polls often provide a better estimate of the national popular vote, in addition to the electoral college.
His conclusion is that it’s much more likely that Gallup is wrong and everyone else is right, than the other way round.
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