Which Polls to Ignore From Now On

We all lived on polls before the presidential election, and some of us live on them the rest of the time too. But how accurate were the endless projections we hung on?

A Fordham University professor, Costas Panagopoulos, Ph.D., took a poll of the pollsters and ranked them by accuracy. Pew Research and Rasmussen, the right-leaning group, tied for number one, producing polls “perfectly in agreement with the actual election result.” Rasmussen uses a daily poll which it rolls into a three-day average. While more precise in the long run, this method also offered a partial time delay after pivotal events like the presidential and vice presidential debates.

George Washington University, Diageo/Hotline, and the American Research Group all overestimated McCain’s support, placing them in fourth place and tied for fifth, respectively.

The surprising last place finishers were such esteemed news organizations as Reuters/C-Span/Zogby, CBS/Time, and Newsweek. Incredibly, FOX was right in the middle. The full list:

  • 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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