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Now that it looks like the final vote tally is going to shake out as Obama 51 Romney 47, it's time to give credit where credit is due and declare the ABC/Washington Post and the Pew Research polls as the most accurate in predicting the final national-vote margin. Their final polls both called the race for Obama 50-47. Note, too, that both these organizations polled over 2,000 respondents in their final looks at the race.

So, how did the other polling outfits fare in their final assessments of the race? I'm glad you asked.

IBD/TIPP                         50-49 Obama

NBC NEWS/WSJ                48-47 Obama

Politico/GWU/Battleground  47-47 tie

CNN/Opinion Research        49-49 tie

Monmouth/Survey USA       48-48 tie

Now, to the two firms that fared the worst and, to no one's surprise, we find Gallup and Rasmussen pulling up the rear.

Rasmussen Reports             48-49 Romney

Gallup                               49-50 Romney

Notice that every single poll - even the ones that came closest - wound up underestimating Obama's final total, while many overestimated Romney's. So much for the theory that undecideds generally break for the challenger in the actual voting. In fact, I would posit that likely-voter models ultimately work in Democrats' favor on election day, since so many potential Democratic voters seem to get screened out of such polls in the winnowing process, leaving us with a lot more room for turn-out growth than Republicans.

At any rate, congratulations to ABC/WaPo and Pew Research. As for Rasmussen and Gallup, it's back to the drawing-board for you, chumps.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Democracy corps was most accurate (10+ / 0-)

    It will be 51-47

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

    by delphil on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 09:22:40 PM PST

    •  Thanks for that (0+ / 0-)

      I used the list on real clear politics. Did they not include that poll for some reason?

    •  I notice... (0+ / 0-)

      ...that the last Democracy Corps poll listed on the RCP site is from 9/12 (50-45, Obama).

    •  Yes, it looks like Democracy Corps will end up (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buckstop, ratador

      being the poll that most accurately predicted the national margin of victory.  They had Obama ahead by 3.8 in their final poll:

      The final national survey for Democracy Corps shows Obama ahead with a 4-point lead in the presidential race, 49 to 45 percent (actually, 3.8 points to be exact).

      Pew and WaPo were good, but a Democratic pollster is going to end up being the most accurate.  And this is why they were so accurate, they were paying attention to the "New American Electorate":

      Our accuracy in this election reflected years of intense study and a series of careful decisions about key assumptions in our election modeling, including ones regarding demographic and turnout trends among pivotal voting groups, notably Latinos.  It reflected our years of attention to the composition and dynamics of the “Rising American Electorate” – young voters, non-whites, and unmarried women – a set of voters who decided this election, and who will be a core element of the progressive coalition for years to come.  And our accuracy reflected our intense focus on the methodological changes necessary to accurately sample the full American electorate – such as insisting on a higher proportion of cell phone interviews, despite the higher costs.
      What's crazy in this election cycle is that virtually no "reputable" polls showed a Democratic bias.

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

      by Lawrence on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 04:00:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Real Clear has a completely (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, exNYinTX, Delevie

    arbitrary way of aggregating. They include some and exclude others, and they keep some on longer than others. Not surprising their shenanigans always leans republican.

    There is no such thing as an off year election. Every election effects each other. We need to work as hard in 2014 as we did in 2012.

    by pollbuster on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 09:55:19 PM PST

  •  Be careful of the practise of "herding" (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CalvinV, winsock, DigDug, buckstop, blueoasis

    which is when pollsters change their methodology as the election comes closer to bring themselves in line with other polls. Gallup and Rasmussen are famous for that, as they attempt to set a narrative with outlier polls until the election is just a few days away. Hence for some pollsters just looking at the last poll could be very deceiving.

    There is no such thing as an off year election. Every election effects each other. We need to work as hard in 2014 as we did in 2012.

    by pollbuster on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 10:02:57 PM PST

    •  right--from this perspective both Gallup and Raz (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lawrence, buckstop, pollbuster

      look far worse, because they both kicked toward the median in the final week.  Raz still missed at the end by, what, 4-5 pts?  (R+1 vs D+3or4)  Actually I think 4-5 pts was about their typical lean this cycle, so maybe they stayed consistent to the end.  Gallup....heh...they were still showing R+5 LV until Sandy came along to save their asses by shutting down nat'l polling; when they finally were able to poll again they were only at R+1.  But right through Sept and Oct Gallup was giving us these crazy R+5-7 leads.  I dunno what WaPo was saying then...  

      •  Yes, Gallup was truly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the worst of all of them. And you are completely correct, Sandy did "save their asses" by allowing them to shut their unabashed crap down.

        There is no such thing as an off year election. Every election effects each other. We need to work as hard in 2014 as we did in 2012.

        by pollbuster on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 08:33:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  RAND poll's final margin (+3,32% for Obama) was (5+ / 0-)

    relatively accurate.

    Their final popular vote prediction was 49,5% for Obama and 46,18% for Romney. It seems their polling method proved fairly ground-breaking.

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