Polling the polls: Who were the most accurate?

politics | Nov 06, 2008 | By Spero News

For all the derision directed toward pre-election polling, the final poll estimates were not far off from the actual nationwide voteshares for the two candidates, according to an analysis by Costas Panagopoulos, Ph.D, at Fordham University.

On average, preelection polls from 23 public polling organizations projected a Democratic advantage of 7.52 percentage points on Election Day, which is only about 1.37 percentage points away from the current estimate of a 6.15-point Obama margin in the national popular vote.

To assess poll accuracy, Panagopoulos pulled estimates from the 23 polling organizations. Four of these polls appear to have overestimated McCain support (indicated with a * below), while most polls (17) overestimated Obama strength.

Pre-election projections for two organizations’ final polls — Rasmussen and Pew — were perfectly in agreement with the actual election result.

The following list ranks the 23 organizations by the accuracy of their final, national preelection polls (as reported on pollster.com).

1. Rasmussen (11/1-3)
1. Pew (10/29-11/1)
2. YouGov/Polimetrix (10/18-11/1)
3. Harris Interactive (10/20-27)
4. GWU (Lake/Tarrance) (11/2-3)*
5. Diageo/Hotline (10/31-11/2)*
5. ARG (10/25-27)*
6. CNN (10/30-11/1)
6. Ipsos/McClatchy (10/30-11/1)
7. DailyKos.com (D)/Research 2000 (11/1-3)
8. AP/Yahoo/KN (10/17-27)
9. Democracy Corps (D) (10/30-11/2)
10. FOX (11/1-2)
11. Economist/YouGov (10/25-27)
12. IBD/TIPP (11/1-3)
13. NBC/WSJ (11/1-2)
14. ABC/Post (10/30-11/2)
15. Marist College (11/3)
16. CBS (10/31-11/2)
17. Gallup (10/31-11/2)
18. Reuters/ C-SPAN/ Zogby (10/31-11/3)
19. CBS/Times (10/25-29)
20. Newsweek (10/22-23)



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