Thursday, September 18, 2008


Not all pollsters are created equal

My poor father comes rushing in "CNN did a poll and blah, blah, blah". Meanwhile, CNN/Time's poll done by Opinion Research Corp is in the bottom half of pollster accuracy ( Of course, CNN is going to use its own poll in its reporting because not only do they have full use of the polls internals (party registration of poll participants, women/men ratio, black/white ratio, etc.), but also because it is their poll.

And of course, many other news outlets will publish the reports (oh CNN did this poll, oh it is from a swing state). About the only thing, the polls have going for them is that they have a relatively large sample size, 800+ voters (reducing the margin of error).

Take for example, a recent CNN poll done in the state of Indiana ( McCain led by 6 (or 5 depending on using third party candidates) points (a reasonable result). But later that evening, a Selzer poll come out in the same state ( This poll.... has Obama up by 3. Any of those that follow politics know that Ann Selzer (based in Iowa) has a record that most pollsters could only dream of (

Question.... which poll do you think will be repeated by the mainstream media?

I thought so.

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