Given that the media is – mostly – in a full court press to ensure that voters do not make the apparent mistake of voting for Donald Trump, is it any surprise that polls are viewed skeptically? Especially given the wide divergence between different polls – or pollsters’ methodology to be more accurate – this late in the race. But are those skeptics – who tend to be Trump supporters – right?

There’s two main reasons why Trump could pull off a very unexpected upset on November 8th. The methodology of some pollsters is wrong. Or, people are lying.

Last Friday, 3 polls showed Trump leading slightly. The pollsters involved are:

LA Times: who get an A- rating from fivethirtyeight and have accurately predicted results 86% of the time.

Rasmussen: who get a C+ and have a 79% accuracy rating.

IBD/TIPP: who get an A- and have a 76% accuracy rating.

As you can see, one’s accuracy and one’s grade are not necessarily correlated. And it would be quite a slog for most of us to go through all the granular detail behind Nate Silver and fivethirtyeight’s methodology for ranking the methodology of other pollsters. So the best one can do is say that these 3 polls are from respectable pollsters and while they may very well be outliers, they might instead reflect real voter preferences. We’ll find out.

Are people lying to pollsters? Why would they? From shame? Is there a hushed army of bashful Trump fans out there? Or are they lying to pollsters due to a deep suspicion of pollsters and mainstream media in general? Even if linking these two sections of the communications industry is not always quite accurate. Both these reasons might be prompting more than the usual amount of misleading responses on the part of respondents. Again, we’ll find out.

While the Brexit results were propelled by similar political concerns on the part of British voters, the polls in the UK were significantly closer than the Real Clear Politics average currently shows for the presidential race. So a Brexit surprise is a little tougher ask on this side of the Atlantic. To pull it off, Trump has to reel in independents as well as bring back those GOP voters who have been turned away by the recent scandals.

But if he somehow does win, or makes it much closer than most are expecting, then absent a dramatic shift in the polls over the next 12 or so days, it will mean that polling is in trouble. Dead? The end of the polling era as an Observer article proclaimed? Not likely. But a Trump near-victory would send pollsters scrambling to update their methodologies (and that means everything from how often they try to contact you to more wonky statistical adjustments). And if Trump wins somehow? Pollsters will be even less trusted than the media. And even worse: they will have a tougher time getting people to pay them for their work. Unlike the generally profitable mainstream media.

DMR: Romney leads Paul in Des Moines Register Iowa Poll; Santorum surges

Will this order hold? Can Paul’s much-vaunted ground-game make up the difference? Could Santorum shock the universe with a win of his own?

UPDATE: We now realize this is an online poll. While the source is respectable, the data isn’t. It’s certainly worth discussing, but its value is seriously called into question. We will not include this poll in the PDC.

The online survey of 1,432 Americans aged 18 and over included 423 Republican registered voters. Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online polls but the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 5.3 percent.

A new Reuters poll out today has Newt in the lead at 24%, Romney at 22% and Cain at 13%. The last three national polls have Cain in the teens and back squarely in third. Just as expected, Cain simply wasn’t ready for the scrutiny, the issues or the stage.

Is Newt’s surge for real? Will he have the legs that Bachmann, Perry and Cain haven’t shown?

Newt tops Fox poll


Filed Under Polls on Nov 16 

Fox has a poll fresh from the stable and it’s more good news for Newt. He sits at 23%, Romney is within the margin of error at 22% and Cain has dropped ten points to 15%.

For weeks, Cain supporters have pointed to steady numbers and argued the gaffes and sexual harassment allegations weren’t hurting him.

How about now? Is the Cain love affair over? Or can he rebound?

Raising Cain


Filed Under Polls on Oct 4 

The numbers are simply stunning. In two weeks, Perry has dropped 11 points in two weeks and Cain has jumped 12


Perry’s announcement bump is showing some legs:

The survey, released Monday, indicates that 27 percent of Republicans nationwide support Perry for their party’s nomination, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who’s making his second bid for the White House, at 14 percent. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin follows at ten percent, with Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani at nine percent, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who’s making his third bid for the presidency, at six percent. Every one else listed on the questionnaire registered in the low single digits.

Fascinating that non-candidates Palin and Rudy continue to poll above Newt and Paul.

Perry: 27
Romney: 14
Palin: 10
Bachmann: 9
Rudy: 9
Newt: 6
Paul: 6
Everyone else? It ain’t pretty.

Perry gallops to front


Filed Under Polls on Aug 24 

Hard to believe we’ve been running Political Derby since 2006 and I’ve never made the “gallop” joke. (Get it? Horses? Gallup? Gallop?)

Gallup: Perry Zooms to Front of Pack for 2012 GOP Nomination

PRINCETON, NJ — Shortly after announcing his official candidacy, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has emerged as rank-and-file Republicans’ current favorite for their party’s 2012 presidential nomination. Twenty-nine percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents nationwide say they are most likely to support Perry, with Mitt Romney next, at 17%.

Breaking Rasmussen poll: Obama 39%, Paul 38%

Don’t just look at the big numbers, take a moment to read the story and drill down to some of the other data. There are some fascinating nuggets.

Gallop: Obama in Close Race Against Romney, Perry, Bachmann, Paul

The interesting thing about this new poll is the way Drudge is shaping the story with his headline.


What’s the more newsworthy item? That Romney and Perry are beating Obama or that Paul and Bachmann are “closely matched”?


Poll roundup


Filed Under Polls on Aug 18 

It’s been too long since we’ve done any poll roundups. The problem? There’s only one national poll available since Rick Perry’s entrance into the race.

Rasmussen: Perry 29%, Romney 18%, Bachmann 13%

So let’s shine up those crystal balls. First, what are your takeaways from Rasmussen. Second, how do you expect the numbers to look when more polls hit the streets and we begin to see more samples in the national averages? (RCP National Average as of today: Romney 20.2%, Perry 18.4%, Palin 10.0%, Bachmann 9.6%, Giuliani 9.3%, Paul 8.8%, Cain 5.0%, Gingrich 5.0%, Huntsman 2.2%, Santorum 1.8%.)

How does Sarah Palin, assuming she will pursue the GOP nomination for president, overcome the perception–or reality, depending on your point of view–that she isn’t qualified to be president?

According to the new survey from Vanity Fair and CBS News’ 60 Minutes
, only 1 in 4 of all adults thinks Palin is qualified to be commander-in-chief while 60 percent say she is not.

By a narrow 47-40 percent margin however, Republicans do feel Palin has the right stuff to be president. But self identified conservatives – constituting the segment of the GOP largely thought to most favor the former Alaska governor – are essentially split 41-40 percent on her abilities to govern the country.

Consider again that data: Conservatives, ie. those most likely to vote in a primary or caucus, are split 41-40 on her abilities to govern the country. Can anyone make an argument this isn’t a huge problem for Palin?

Given where we stood two years ago, this is nothing short of stunning.

The web is buzzing this morning with the results of new TIME poll. It found that nearly 1 in 4 Americans think Obama is a Muslim.

Other interesting findings:

Twenty-eight percent of voters do not believe Muslims should be eligible to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. Nearly one third of the country thinks adherents of Islam should be barred from running for President — slightly higher than the 24% who mistakenly believe that the current occupant of the Oval Office is himself a Muslim. In all, just 47% of respondents believe Obama is a Christian; 24% declined to respond to the question or said they were unsure, and 5% believe he is neither Christian nor Muslim.

So how about you? Do you believe Barack Obama is a Muslim?

Truly stunning numbers.

TRENDING: Poll: Only 4 in 10 say Obama deserves re-election
Posted: July 21st, 2010 01:47 PM ET

From CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser

A new poll released Wednesday indicates that 48 percent of the public thinks Obama doesn’t deserve a second term in office.

Washington (CNN) – Nearly half of all Americans think President Barack Obama does not deserve re-election in 2012, according to a new national poll.

A Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday indicates that 48 percent of the public thinks Obama doesn’t deserve a second term in office, with four in ten saying he does deserve to be re-elected. By a 52 to 34 percent margin, Independent voters say the president doesn’t deserve re-election.

Read the rest.

Ranking the presidents


Filed Under Polls on Jul 7 

Here at PD we spend so much time ranking presidential contenders that we never take time to rank the guys who’ve actually held the job. This piece in the Washington Examiner got me thinking, where would PD faithful place Obama and what would their top five look like?

In the comments, please list your top five presidents of all-time and where you’d place Obama, as of today.

Daily Presidential Tracking Poll


Well…..maybe not.

Rasmussen Reports:

a telephone survey of Likely Voters in California shows Boxer with 42% support in a match-up with Campbell, a former congressman, who earns 41%. Five percent (5%) prefer some other candidate, and 12% remain undecided.

I get hammered here at PD for being anti-Paul. At least that’s the perception. So knowing that, I’m going to introduce these fresh Rasmussen poll results without any commentary of my own and not risk having every word parsed to death in the comments.

Let the debate begin.

Pit maverick Republican Congressman Ron Paul against President Obama in a hypothetical 2012 election match-up, and the race is – virtually dead even.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of likely voters finds Obama with 42% support and Paul with 41% of the vote. Eleven percent (11%) prefer some other candidate, and six percent (6%) are undecided.

Read the rest.

Several things jump out of this new poll, but most surprising is that Palin and Newt are only separated by a single point. Team Palin can’t possibly see that as a good sign.

The survey found that 24 percent of Republicans and Republican leaning Independents say they would most likely support Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate, in the battle for the 2012 GOP nomination. And 20 percent said they would back former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who also ran for the White House in 2008. Palin, who was Sen. John McCain’s running mate in the last presidential election, came in third place with 15 percent, a point ahead of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

According to the poll, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, another 2008 Republican presidential hopeful, would be in fifth place, with eight percent. Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour all register in the lower single digits in the hypothetical 2012 GOP presidential nomination matchup.

Matt Drudge and the Republican delusion
By Brent Budowsky – 03/26/10 11:54 AM ET

In my opinion Matt Drudge is the most important and influential single figure in American media. In terms of daily and ongoing influence he is more influential than The New York Times, the television networks, cable news or anyone else.

Read the rest.