Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A little perspective on the latest CBS/NYT poll

By now you've probably heard about the latest CBS/NYT poll that shows Romney leading Obama 46/43.  You may have also heard some of the questions about how the poll was conducted.

But here's what I find interesting. At this point in the 2004 election, the CBS/NYT poll showed Kerry leading Bush 49/41. We all remember how that one turned out, don't we? They also found Bush's favorability at the time to be 41%.

Taken alone, that simply points out the problem with forecasting an election based on polling 6 months prior to the actual vote.

But how bout we combine it that with some information I shared here a couple of days ago? At the same time that CBS/NYT found Kerry ahead, the aggregate of state polls showed Bush ahead 286/251 in the electoral college. Guess which view of things turned out to be a better predictor of the outcome?

So I'd suggest that if you want to pay any attention to polling at all, watch the sites where they're using state polls to give us information on the electoral college map. The two I keep my eye on are Real Clear Politics and Huffington Post.

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