Tag Archives: Nate Silver 538

Which Poll Was The Most Accurate

Immediately following the election, Fordham University published a ranking of the pollsters based on their accuracy in predicting the 2012 Presidential election.  Their results:

1. PPP (D)*
1. Daily Kos/SEIU/PPP*
3. YouGov*
4. Ipsos/Reuters*
5. Purple Strategies
6. YouGov/Economist
11. Angus-Reid*
12. ABC/WP*
13. Pew Research*
13. Hartford Courant/UConn*
15. Monmouth/SurveyUSA
15. Politico/GWU/Battleground
15. FOX News
15. Washington Times/JZ Analytics
15. Newsmax/JZ Analytics
15. American Research Group
15. Gravis Marketing
23. Democracy Corps (D)*
24. Rasmussen
24. Gallup
26. NPR
27. National Journal*
28. AP/GfK

At the top of the list is PPP, the polling outfit here in North Carolina.  At the bottom sat AP/GfK.

The real talk of the town is the rankings of two prominent pollsters; Gallup and Rasmussen.  These are the big guys, the heavy hitters.  Rasmussen especially given their republican bias.

However, with my new found respect for all things 538 I couldn’t help but notice Nate Silver’s analysis:

The guys at the bottom are kinda the same, we see Rasmussen and Gallup.  But where Fordham had them tied, we see Rasmussen significantly more accurate than Gallup.  And at the top?  Where Fordham had PPP, Nate has them at a more pedestrian 15th, a mere 5 slots ahead of Rasmussen.

What does this mean?

I don’t know.  Maybe it means that we’re all subject to the whims of political gamesmanship.  That it’s more important for my side to be right than it is for my ideas to be better.  Maybe the lesson is that there’s a market for such crap.

Or maybe it’s that we don’t know.  And that’s why we play the game.