Patterico's Pontifications

8/28/2008

Justin’s Laws Of Interpreting Political Polling

Filed under: Politics — Justin Levine @ 1:15 pm



[by Justin Levine]

These should be obvious, but still bear repeating:

1.  Any single poll won’t be of much use. Many polls showing the same trend is more helpful.

2.  Polls of “registered voters” are useless. Only concentrate on the polls of “likely voters”.

3.  Naturally, the bigger the sample, the better the results – but never forget law # 2.  A smaller sample of “likely voters” polled will still likely yield more accurate results than a larger sample of “registered voters”.

4. Be extra suspicious of polls conducted by media organizations as opposed to organizations that concentrate exclsuively on polling full time. [An L.A. Times poll on the election?? Bwahahaha!  Stick with Zogby, Gallup, Rasmussen, etc.] Even when such media organizations “partner” with professional poll takers, the results still tend not to be as accurate as when the pros do it exclusively by themselves.

Now go forth with your newfound enlightenment, and draw your own conclusions.

– Justin Levine

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