You read that right:
Political scientists Robert Erikson and Christopher Wlezien, authors of the book The Timeline of Presidential Elections: How Campaigns Do (and Do Not) Matter, are widely regarded as the top authorities on general election polling.
And one thing their data from 1952 to 2008 clearly shows, according to Princeton election expert Sam Wang, is that head-to-head polls after the conventions are actually great predictors of who will win the race. In fact, the candidate ahead in polls two weeks after the conventions has gone on to win the popular vote in all 16 elections the political scientists studied, according to Vox’s Andrew Prokop.
But I wanted to see the numbers for myself, so I gathered them up and created the following chart.
For each year, I plotted polling averages two weeks past the second convention (blue diamonds for the democrat, red squares for the republican) and the ultimate popular vote percentage for the winner (blue or red triangle, as appropriate.) The leader in the polls and winner are shaded and tethered together.
As you can see, except for two years (1960 and 1980) when the polls were essentially tied, the leader in the polls went on to win the popular vote.
I hope this puts a smile on your face!
Now go out and help make this happen!! And don’t forget your down-ballot races. These people are the future of the democratic party.