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I love me some PPP, they were very good in their state polls.   They were also recently anointed as the gold standard when it comes to national polling.    The Fordham study gave PPP the top slot not once, but twice, for coming up with the most accurate margin for the general election.

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*


Except, after further review, PPP does no longer occupy the two top spots in the race "Best pollster of 2012."  As more and more votes are being counted Obama's winning margin has grown.   As of today, the race is now at Obama 50.6%, Romney 47.9%.    That means as of now Obama is ahead of Romney by 2.7%, almost 3% now.     That margin is likely to grow a little more, since most of the yet-to-be-counted votes come from California, Washington and Oregon, Obama states.  

Anyway, follow me after the squiggle for the new, updated list of "Most Accurate Pollster in 2012."    

I took the Fordham study and reworked it with the new reality of Obama's margin in the popular vote.   I also added the RAND experiment, which has a remarkably accurate result.    Here is the updated list of "Most Accurate Pollster of 2012":

Current result:   Obama 50.6% - Romney 47.9%

1. Angus-Reid  - 3%  (51% to 48%)

2. ABC/Washington Post - 3%   (50% to 47%)

2. Pew Research - 3%  (50% to 47%)

4. RAND - 3%  (49.5% to 46.18%)

5. Hartford Courant/Uconn - 3%  (48% to 45%)

6. PPP  - 2%  (50% to 48%)

6. Dailykos/PPP  - 2%  (50% to 48%)

8. YouGov  - 2%  (49% to 47%)

9. Ipsos/Reuters - 2% (48% to 46%)

10. Democracy Corps - 4% (49% to 45%)

11. IBD/TIPP - 1%  (50% to 49%)

12. UPI/CVOTER - 1% (49% to 48%)

13. NBC/WSJ - 1% (48% to 47%)

13. YouGov/Economist - 1% (48% to 47%)

13. CBS/New York Times - 1% (48% to 47%)

16. Purple Strategies 1% (47% to 46%)

17. National Journal - 5% (50% to 45%)

18. ARG - 0%  (49% to 49%)

18. Washington Times/JZ Analytics - 0% (49% to 49%)

18. CNN/ORC - 0%  (49% to 49%)

21. Monmouth - 0% (48% to 48%)

21. Politico/Battleground - 0% (48% to 48%)  

21. Gravis Marketing - 0% (48% to 48%)

24. Newsmax/Zogby - 0% (47% to 47%)

25. Fox - 0% (46% to 46%)

26. Gallup - -1% (48% to 49%)

26. Rasmussen -  -1% (48% to 49%)

28. NPR -  -1% (47% to 48%)

29. AP/GfK -  -2% (45% to 47%)


I don't expect this list to change much.  Obama is likely to inch closer and closer to the full 3% margin from the current 2.7%.   The only changes in this list would occur if Obama can go past 3% to 3.1% and beyond, as then the 4% Democracy Corps poll would jump to #5.  

So, let's give it up for Angus-Reid, a little known Canadian pollster that hit the margin and also the percentages on the nose.   Best pollster of 2012.  

Of the major newsy polls ABC/WaPo was the best.  

Pew Research was spot on once again.  

PPP did excellently with both of their final polls.

Internet polls were validated, did fantastic, with Angus-Reid taking top honors, and YouGov, Reuters-Ipsos and IBD/TIPP doing remarkably well, all ranking in the Top 10.  The future of polling?  

AP/GfK had the worst result, but in their defense their final poll came out on Oct. 23.  Who knows what the result would have been, had they repolled right before the election?  The same is true for NPR, which published its last poll on Oct. 25.  

Thus, the absolute worst pollsters of 2012 - as was predicted by Dailykos readers far and near, were Gallup and Rasmussen.   Both published their final predictions the day before the election, and both were off by a mile.  

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Comment Preferences

  •  Nate has his list now (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grubber, Lawrence

    I Support Puerto Rican Statehood

    by InsultComicDog on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:15:50 PM PST

    •  lolz - PPP tied with Gravis (0+ / 0-)

      Disclaimer: If the above comment can possibly be construed as snark, it probably is.

      by grubber on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:50:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  the interesting thing there (0+ / 0-)

        is that Gravis' average bias was exactly equal to their average polling error.

        PPP on the other hand averaged the same error but could have gone in either direction, so it's easy to see how a different methodology would have them average out on top.

        I Support Puerto Rican Statehood

        by InsultComicDog on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:55:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ironically PPP was listed as having a (0+ / 0-)

          Republican bias by Nate. PPP's poll showed President Obama's go down significantly after the first debate, but that was more like Nate's nowcast not his forecast.

          Brand new favorite RSS feed of Daily Kos Radio Podcasts
          Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

          by We Won on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 08:40:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  More accurately, Nate gave PPP a Democratic bias (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FiredUpInCA, Lawrence

            early on, and penalized the poll results slightly for a (D) house effect.  Then, when PPP showed a slightly stronger Romney poll surge than other pollsters were showing Nate gave PPP a bit of a Romney bias, and penalized slightly on the basis of a Republican house effect.  Then more recently Nate went again the other way and detected a stronger D house effect in PPP polling, and made a point of that.    

            It is interesting how Nate's model shows these effects and adjusts for them, regardless of whether the pollster is actually known to be more aligned with one party's philosophy or the other.  

    •  Wow, Gallup had an average error margin of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:


      They were, by far, the worst pollster around in 2012.

      Sheesh, they were so bad they almost make Rassmussen look good.

      It's interesting how almost all polls had a Republican bias this time around.... and that's only going to get worse as additional votes on the west coast and provisional ballots elsewhere get counted.

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 04:02:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I could of swore (0+ / 0-)

    PPP, Pew and Wapo all had 50-47. PPP came out with another poll afterwards?

    PPP was the best state by state pollster as well.

    "I don't want a line in the Sand lines can be moved. They can be blown away. I want a six foot trench carved into granite."

    by theone718 on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:16:24 PM PST

  •  Good catch. (5+ / 0-)

    Also the final numbers from the much maligned RAND tracking survey were 49.5 to 46.2, which puts them pretty close, at least margin-wise.

    "I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." - Susan B. Anthony

    by RickinStLouis on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:16:32 PM PST

  •  You don' include Rand or the GoogleSurvey (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Rand wasn't a conventional poll but at this point is within 1 point of the final margin at 3.4. I didn't follow the GoogleSurvey accept for when Nate listed it.

  •  300+,000 Still Out in Ohio, In Arizona the More (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    votes they count, the more votes are outstanding.

    Ohio can't even begin to count for another week.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:19:20 PM PST

  •  This is just the national horse race (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grubber, FightingRegistrar, Lawrence

    Rasmussen showed you can nail that while sucking big time in the states.

    How did Angus-Reid do in its state polling? It seemed to me like they threw up some pretty weird #s from time to time. But I'll be interested to see what Nate says.

    The thing about PPP is that they poll the states a lot and generally they do a very good job. They were consistently bullish on Obama in VA & were proven right.

    Anyways, the mark of a good pollster is how they do across the board, not just whether they're closest to the pin on the national PV #s.

    •  Well, Rasmussen didn't get away with it this time (0+ / 0-)

      Same with Gallup.  Both tried to get back to the mean, but could not help themselves and were disastrously wrong.  They both make up the kaboose of all pollsters.  

      This list only compares the national horse race numbers, the national polls that predict the eventual popular vote.

      I agree that a good pollster does things well across the board - national polls, state polls, etc.  PPP has certainly established itself as a tremendous polling firm, probably all things considered and thrown in the mix the BEST.  

       The Fordham list dealt with the national polls only.  Some of the firms on that list don't conduct any state polls: Gallup, Pew, Angus-Reid, RAND, IBD/TIPP, etc.   Not meant to be an apples to apples comparison, just the popular vote national polls.    

      •  Ras will face a shitstorm of criticism (0+ / 0-)

        I was reading their polls on a variety of issues all summer and fall and thinking..."this doesn't seem like the same electorate that other reputable polling firms are reaching" (think PEW and their excellent surveys on a variety of social and political issues). Well, in the wasn't; it wasn't reflective of America, and certainly not the America that voted in 2012. And, that's a very good thing.

        Basically, what happend is that Ras drank the same koolaid as Team Romney, regarding who would show up on Nov 6th. In the process they seemed to systematically ignore the hard facts presented by the early voting data. It was crystal clear from these reports, especially in places like FL and NC, that Obama's coalition was pretty much intact from 2008, and that they were definitely showing up. Had they heeded these numbers, and been more concerned with accurate polling than being cheerleaders in a totally imagined and fictional "Romneyverse" of angry old white married Christian voters, they would simply have re-weighted their sample to make it 3 points more Democratic.

        •  I always find their social polls to be off the (0+ / 0-)

          rocker.   Way too conservative-leaning.  That is not the real world.   Scott Rasmussen is a self-proclaimed born-again Christian, and he has given a lot of money to Republican candidates over the years.  He claims to be an Independent, but I am not buying.  

          I think Gallup is almost in similar territory with their social polls, although their saving grace is that their "Registered Voter" polling is much closer to reality, and their social polls are usually taken amongst registered voters.  

          If we talk about terrible pollsters, let's not forget how horrific Mason-Dixon and Suffolk performed.    MD's Florida poll was comically wrong, and they even stated that they won't poll Florida anymore because that state was absolutely in Romney's bag.   Oooops.   And Suffolk stated a while back that they won't be polling Florida, Virginia and North Carolina anymore, since all 3 states are obvious Romney wins, polling them would be a waste of time.     Huge, game-changing, blunders by two formerly relatively well-respected polling firms.   No more.  They are hacks.  

      •  And-Gallup's verison of the electorate sucked too (0+ / 0-)

        Shouldn't have singled out Ras, when Gallup served up a heaping helping of absolute fail, and....worse...they have no excuse; they're not a known Repub tool as is Ras; their model was way off; their estimate of the white vote ignored everything from the US census to just about every state poll which was showing that minorities, especially in key states like OH, FL, NC, were very excited about voting. They have no excuse; they've really damaged their brand.

  •  Pew is always on the money (3+ / 0-)

    I think just trust the last pew before the election. its always right.

    "Four seconds is the longest wait " -Sleater-Kinney

    by delphil on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:32:23 PM PST

  •  Was that list including state polls, or... (0+ / 0-)

    just national?  PPP probably easily did the best with state polls, and was quite close nationally.

    I have as much authority as the Pope, I just don't have as many people who believe it.

    by adamsmo on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:42:10 PM PST

    •  Yeah, the Fordham list was only National Polls (0+ / 0-)

      I agree that PPP had by far the best state polls, gold standard for sure.   They know their stuff.   Their national polls seemed just a tad lower than I had expected, and, even though they were very close, their final poll came in just slightly below Obama's real margin.

      •  I think the one surprise was the youth vote (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        PPP never thought the 18-29 vote would be 19% (nor did I). If memory serves me correctly, PPP was expecting this demo to be about 16%  This statistic alone probably accounts for all the variance we saw (just under 1%).

        The Hispanic turnout was perhaps slightly larger than expected as well, but I think the millennial generation has a lot to be proud of this cycle. I'm certainly proud of them for showing up.

        •  Yes. Young voters are engaged (0+ / 0-)

          The right is really missing the boat by a mile with their predictions about turnout.   They constantly believe young voters and minority voters are unreliable, and they are constantly proven wrong.  That makes it a pattern.  

           The general election is extremely prevalent and dominating in the current Zeitgeist, it is all over the place, you can't escape it.  It is on Facebook, Twitter, all over the news, magazines, celebrities talk about it everywhere.  Interest in presidential elections has boomed.  Thus, young voters are likely to turn out, because they are extremely interested, very engaged.   What, right-wingers actually believe young voters talk about the election incessantly, watch the debates and conventions en masse, and then, come election day, they just wake up, turn over, say "Hmmm, wasn't there something I was going to do today?  Nah, nevermind" and forget to vote?   Yeah, right.  

          Hispanics have a lot of skin in the game.  Not only do many of them know people who are here illegally, they are also tremendously concerned that something like the Arizona law goes national and then they can be stopped at any street corner and asked about "papers" at any street corner, just for looking Hispanic.   Clearly, they were going to turn out.  

  •  Top 8-9 all nailed it (0+ / 0-)

    They're all within a point. The difference between Angus Reid and Democracy Corps is pretty much luck.

  •  Gallup and Rasmussen suck ballz yet again. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm so glad PPP has made headlines yet again.  I'm just so proud of that organization!

    •  2 and 4 years from now, nobody better try to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FightingRegistrar, FiredUpInCA

      diss PPP as "that Democratic poll" and hold up Rasmussen and Gallup.  The two suckiest pollsters?  Yeah, right.  I also liked how well RAND and most of the Internet polls did.  Pretty much, ANY polling outfit is better than Rasmussen and Gallup at this point.   Adding to the problem for Rasmussen (compared to Gallup) is the fact that they were just absolutely terrible with their state polls.  They predicted only ONE state right (NC) and were off in all other battleground states.  ALL OF THEM.  

  •  We don't know the exact %s due to rounding (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    PPP's final polling margin was 2%; however we don't if that was 2.49% or 1.50%. Similarly Pew might have been 3.49% or right on the money (in the high 2's or around 3% when all is said and done.

    So, perhaps PPP will enlighten us on these details one of these days.

    In the end, though, frankly, given that we do things through the electoral college, nailing the popular vote is a little like predicting "Miss Congeniality" for a beauty pageant ---nice to know but irrelevant to the main event. In that sphere PPP's polling was pretty much spot on, especially in VA, FL, CO, MN, PA, MI. They were a few points high (towards Obama) in OH; however, final margin of victory may well creep up when all absentee and provisional votes are counted. PPP actually leaned towards Romney by 2-4  points in NH, WI, NV, IA. Not that it matters this year but....they were also close in MO, MT, and AZ,

    Additionally, PPP called every Senate race they polled correctly (I don't think they ever polled IN or ND) and their margins were pretty good in those races as well. The only place they totally missed was MO, where Akin was trounced by double digits. No one got that right.

    All in all, they did a great job. More importantly, at least for me, they proved that, when it comes to polling down the critical homestretch, they played no favorites, pushed no agenda, and simply tried to get it right.

    None of us wants to live in the kind of bubble/cocoon that right wing media outlets are only too happy to provide their consumers. PPP was attacked at times by liberals and conservatives a like (just check their twitter account for comments from people on both sides). They proved their integrity this cycle. Unlike Ras, who can and should ALWAYS be questioned as to their agenda, PPP has established itself beyond reproach.

    •  Absolutely. PPP is a top pollster (0+ / 0-)

      Their state polls were top notch.  Dailykos has definitely found a great polling match (together with SEIU.)   Hope they can keep PPP for the next cycle, they are probably going to be in major demand from here on out, as one of the most accurate pollsters across the board.  

      The national polling is the most talked about in the media during the campaign season.   By far.  That is then followed by polls from the most critical battleground states (i.e. Ohio this year.)   I agree that it shouldn't be as important as polls from the top 5 battleground states, but that is not reality at the moment.  

      I agree about the polling margins.  I included the more detailed RAND margin, as they published them, but haven't found the exact margins for the other polls.  Will change the list as those are published.  

      •  PPP's integrity shines when you read their results (0+ / 0-)

        They don't change their analysis or terms when one candidate or the other is ahead. If you didn't know PPP was a Dem leaning firm and simply read any of their polling summaries you wouldn't be able to detect a hint of partisanship. They're results are also more stable than those of many other firms (Gravis is a good example, jumping all over the place). In their last 4 FL polls neither candidate was up by more than 1 point and, when it counted....their final poll, Obama was up by a fractional point.

        In fact, with PPP you could kind of feel the race shifting---in WI, for example, where Obama was well ahead for most of the cycle (7 in last poll before the 1st debate) and then, immediately afterwards, Romney definitely closed (down to 2 points); but then, Obama began to reassert himself. Obama led by 5 (10.31)  and 3 (11.2) points in the last two polls. This, in fact mirrored the global trend back towards Obama, that appeared mainly after the 3rd debate (and well before Sandy showed up). PPP seems to capture these movements incredibly well.

        •  PPP's special sauce definitely worked (0+ / 0-)

          As robocallers they are not allowed to call cell phones, and many minority households have switched to cell-only.   Rasmussen, another robopollster, suffers dramatically because of  their ability to factor those voters in (as well as their ridiculously outdated assumptions on turnout) whereas PPP has done a remarkable job adjusting for cell phone voters in their polling results.    Kudos, they must have studied a ton of recent research to know exactly how much weight to give that demographic they are not allowed to call.  

  •  asdf (0+ / 0-)


    Angus-Reid did NOT poll all 50 states as PPP did.

    If you go simply by national OV, then your entire analysis falls apart, since there are millions of votes outstanding.

    Apples and oranges.

    Sadly, everything Communism said about itself was a lie. Even more sadly,, everything Communism said about Capitalism was the truth.

    by GayIthacan on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 08:23:13 PM PST

    •  The Fordham study compared national pollsters only (0+ / 0-)

      That is the list I reworked.  

      The outstanding votes might change the list.  It is as of today.  If the percentages change, they probably won't change by that much.  If they do, as I said in another post, then things shift around.  For instance, if the margin grows from currently 2.7% to more than 3.5% in Obama's favor, all of a sudden Democracy Corps with their 4% poll moves to the top of the list.   Not sure what you mean with "your entire analysis falls apart."   Seems like a weird comment to me.   This is a snapshot of the here and now, an update.  It might change, or it might not.  Depends on how  the final margin looks like.  

      And, again, a strange comment:  Apples and Oranges?   I never said that the Fordham list compares STATE POLLSTERS.   That must have been apparent to you when you saw Gallup on this list, but no Quinnipiac.    It deals with NATIONAL POLLS ONLY.   The accuracy of NATIONAL POLLS is a major discussion point after every cycle, especially after general elections, more so than the look at state polling.  

      •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

        I agree - but merely looking at the POPULAR VOTE is misleading - since that margin neither elects anyone nore is truly reflective of much of anything. After all, some blowout electoral college totals have been achieved with narrow popular vote margins - and vice versa.

        Check out Nate Silver's post-e;ection rankings and analysis for comparative purposes. You both seem to agree in most instances - but he break out his results into categories (national, local, etc.).

        But you both do good work in your analyses! :D :D

        Sadly, everything Communism said about itself was a lie. Even more sadly,, everything Communism said about Capitalism was the truth.

        by GayIthacan on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 02:39:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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