Poll City – Come Get More!

Ok, I am obsessed with polls.  This is partly due to my obsession with this election, but also I am a numbers guy.  By day I am financial consultant/analyst.  So, that’s where it comes from.  Here is one more chart I put together, I probably will not update daily.


This shows all the National Tracking polls that have come out daily since I started keeping track a week ago (exception, Diageo I didn’t have the first day).  There are a lot of other polls that track the race, but these are the six that have daily numbers, including weekends.  To understand how accurate or inaccurate they are, check out Nate Silver’s post yesterday over at 538.com.  He reviews the accuracy of each of these polls.  His opinion, and that of others, is that Rasmussen tends to be the most accurate.  In my poll here, Rasmussen does the best job tracking to the mean.

So what’s the take away, as my clients might ask?  First, the range of the polls has narrowed.  What was a range of 2 to 11 point (or aggregate of 9) lead for Obama is down to a 4 to 10 point (or aggregate of 6) lead.  People smarter than me claim polls will fluctuate wildly early in a race and will come into alignment towards the end.   With the exception of Zogby, we also see the polls either remain at the higher or lower end of the range from beginning to end of the analysis.  This shows consistency in polling numbers within the organization.  Finally, we can see the average of all six of these polls remains relatively stable across the range of dates.

The bottom line is polls are tending to preserve their bias and reporting characteristics, but are trending closer to each other as the electorate’s opinion is getting more entrenched.  Additionally, despite some very good day and very bad days for Obama, overall the race hasn’t changed in the week I’ve been tracking.

And one follow-up note.  I didn’t use all the other polls because I wanted to use consistent data across the period being reviewed.  By adding and taking away polls each day, you will see much wilder fluctuations – you are not comparing apples to apples.  I also believe (with no intelligence to tell me if this is true) that the folks who do these polls every single day are going to be more consistent in their performance for a variety of reasons.  I realize that this is only a week of data and things can change quickly.  But it does give some sense of the state of the race.

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