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Studies Show Polls in Recent Elections Remain Accurate

Studies Show Polls in Recent Elections Remain Accurate
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By    |   Friday, 01 June 2018 12:22 PM

Polls in recent elections remain as accurate as they have been historically, if not more, studies have shown, The Washington Post reported.

Nate Silver, founder of FiveThirtyEight, summed up the findings of his site's historical database of U.S. poll accuracy after adding national, state, and congressional district surveys from 2016 to the present.

"Polls of the November 2016 presidential election were about as accurate as polls of presidential elections have been on average since 1972… furthermore, polls of elections since 2016 — meaning ,the 2017 gubernatorial elections and the various special elections to Congress this year and last year — have been slightly more accurate than average," Silver wrote.

Silver found that national polls from before elections missed the margin of success between Trump and Hillary Clinton by an average of 3.1 percentage points in 2016, lower than the 1972 average of 4.1. State presidential polls missed by about 5.2 percentage points, the report said.

A 2017 report published by the American Association for Public Opinion Research also found that national polls were "generally correct and accurate by historical standards."

Another study of international polling accuracy, by politicial scientists Will Jennings and Christopher Wlezien, looked into 351 general elections in 45 countries from 1942 to 2017, and found that "there is no evidence that poll errors have increased over time," The Post reported.

"The sky is not falling," said Wlezien in May, the Post reported.

The media overhyped polling errors in 2016, Silver said, pointing out that polling in 2004, 2008, and 2012 was "uncannily good — in a way that may have given people false expectations about how accurate polling has been all along."

Polls tend to systematically underestimate support from both Democrats and republicans, which shows that if polls show a party trailing by small amounts across a range of states, that party could still win, the Post report said.

Reasons for concern about polling include poll response rates dropping and newsrooms cutting their budgets for polling, Silver said in his analysis.

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Polls in recent elections remain as accurate as they have been historically, if not more accurate, studies have shown.
polls, studies, accuracy, elections
Friday, 01 June 2018 12:22 PM
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