Bernie’s upset win in Michigan is not the death knell for the polling business

  In the days just prior to Tuesday’s Democratic primary election in Michigan, virtually every major poll showed Hillary Clinton leading Bernie Sanders by a comfortable margin. But Sanders narrowly eked out a victory when the actual votes were counted. What happened? How could all those polls be so inaccurate? It was perhaps the biggest primary-election upset since Gary Hart defeated Walter Mondale in a Democratic contest in New Hampshire in 1984, despite polls indicating that Mondale likely would win. The first thing we should do...

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No matter the ugly rhetoric aimed at him, Obama’s approval rating is not so bad

  Several months ago, I had expected that Barack Obama’s job-approval rating would suffer once the battle for the Republican presidential nomination heated up. I figured that the GOP candidates would try to out-do one another in slinging barbs at the incumbent Democratic president. And, in fact, they have. But it seems not to have had much effect on Obama’s poll numbers. At this writing, the president’s approval-versus-disapproval ratings are running on the positive side in most recent polls. It’s a dead-heat at...

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Media persist in misreporting political poll results

    There’s a story in this morning’s edition of The Des Moines Register (see HERE) bearing the headline: “Iowa Poll: Cruz holds 3-point lead as Trump attacks.” The piece is a classic example of how the mainstream media often misreport the results of political polls. Indeed, the Des Moines paper’s story is especially bad. You have to go way down in the story to find the respective poll percentages for Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. They’re buried in a graphic of poll results and appear only in fine...

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Poll shows that GOP Benghazi panel did Hillary Clinton a big favor

One of the big problems for today’s conservative Republicans is that too many of them spend too much time in an echo chamber. The feedback they get from constituents, from Fox News and from talk radio leads them to believe that most Americans agree with them on most issues. When they find out that isn’t true, they’re bewildered. Take, for example, the recent grilling of Hillary Clinton by Republicans on the congressional Benghazi committee. Many of the GOP panelists seemed to believe that hostile questions are just...

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Pollsters warn against using their surveys to exclude candidates from debates

As you’re probably aware by now, some of the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination have been relegated to second-tier status by sponsors of televised debates. This strategy is prompted mainly by the fact that so many people are in the GOP race. The thinking is that it would be unwieldy to have all the candidates in a single debate. So, the solution has been to create a so-called kiddies debate for the candidates who seem not to be doing very well in the polls. The problem here is that the polls aren’t always...

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