Tag Archives: ABC News/Washington Post

New Pollster Ratings

By Jim Ellis

March 30, 2021 — The FiveThirtyEight statistical organization released their latest political pollsters’ accuracy ranking chart toward the end of last week — a study that included 592 survey research firms.

Grades from A+ to C/D were assigned to the firms based upon four criteria:

  1. Their 2020 election cycle precision
  2. The predictive category that suggests how successful the firm will be in the future
  3. The number of polls analyzed in this most recent cyccle, and
  4. hat the FiveThirtyEight team terms as the company’s “mean-reverted bias” factor.

Four polling entities earned the top A+ rating. They are:

  • the Iowa-based Selzer & Company
  • ABC News/Washington Post
  • Siena College/New York Times
  • IDB/TIPP

Another six received A ratings:

  • Survey USA
  • Landmark Communications
  • Research & Polling
  • AtlasIntel
  • Monmouth University
  • Marist College
  • Fox News

Seven more posted A- rankings:

  • The Trafalgar Group
  • Public Opinion Strategies
  • CBS News/New York Times
  • Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy
  • Public Policy Polling
  • Emerson College
  • Quinnipiac University

On the other end of the spectrum, 18 firms were at the bottom of the list but a dozen from this group conducted less than 10 surveys. Of those featuring more than 10 polls, the lowest ranked of the group were Nielsen Brothers Polling, the Humphrey Institute, FM3 Research, Opinion Research Associates, McLaughlin & Associates, and Brown University.

Selzer & Company has long been recognized as one of the country’s better pollsters based upon its strong record predicting the Iowa Caucus presidential results and other races most often from the Hawkeye State.

In 2020, 12 of 19 published polls projected Iowa Democrat Theresa Greenfield as leading Sen. Joni Ernst (R). Approaching Election Day, only two pollsters posted the incumbent ahead four or more percentage points: Selzer & Company and Insider Advantage. Sen. Ernst’s final victory margin was 6.6 percentage points. The IA firm came closest to the end result (Ernst, plus-6; actual, 6.6 percent). Surveying for the Des Moines Register newspaper, Selzer & Company again landed within the accuracy realm (Ernst plus-4).

The ratings also included the polling firms’ partisan bias factor. The bias swing in favor of one party or the other ranged from 4.7 points toward the Democrats (Survey Monkey) to a 3.1 sway for Republicans (MRG Research). The overwhelming majority of pollsters with the highest bias rating favored the Democrats. Of the 28 firms that registered a 2.0 or greater partisan bias factor, 26 favored Democratic candidates.

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Why Trump Is Right on the Polls

By Jim Ellis

May 2, 2017 — President Trump’s retaliatory attacks against the latest major media polls may actually be more correct than even he alludes. The nation’s chief executive predictably came out swinging against ABC and NBC News regarding their newly released polls that found just over 40 percent of their sampling groups approve of his job performance, the worst of any president after 100 days in office.

Trump reminded his audience that those two particular polls were wrong in their election predictions, but the survey representatives quickly shot back to point out that their pre-election projection of Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote was in fact accurate. These pollsters are correct in this particular assertion, but we all know that the individual state polling, particularly in the key Great Lakes states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, was badly flawed and completely missed the mark.

Digging deeper into the current and past election polls does produce a little known factoid, however, and one that the president should find comforting. While the ABC and NBC representatives say their data find Trump to be the most unpopular short-term president, they fail to draw upon a critical comparison factor from their own previous polls.

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Is It Possible?

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 2, 2016 — The latest reverberations from a potentially renewed Hillary Clinton FBI investigation are apparently helping to cause a severe tightening in the presidential race.

The latest polls, and there have been six conducted during the period from Oct. 24-30, now show the national popular vote again closing to perhaps within the margin of error. Clinton still leads in all national polls, but the trend is definitely favoring Donald Trump.

The six polls are from Morning Consult (Oct. 29-30; 1,772 likely US voters), Lucid/The Times Picayune (New Orleans) (Oct. 28-30; 857 likely US voters), Rasmussen Reports (Oct. 26-30; 1,500 likely US voters), Investors Business Daily/TIPP (Oct. 25-30; 993 likely US voters), NBC News/Survey Monkey (Oct. 24-30; 40,816 likely US voters via Internet), and ABC News/Washington Post (Oct. 26-29; 1,695 likely US voters). All but one find the Clinton lead dropping from what appeared to be a consistent six to nine point spread down to one or two.

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Too Little, Too Late?

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 1, 2016 — Hillary Clinton appeared to be a lock to win the presidency less than a week ago, but yet another email scandal has potentially altered the outcome. This time, the situation involves disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-NY-9) computer from which his wife, Clinton Campaign co-chair Huma Abedin, sent and received messages that are prompting further FBI scrutiny.

Does the discovery of more damaging material against the Clinton operation give Donald Trump a serious chance to win on Nov. 8?

Probably not, but a new ABC News/Washington Post three-day tracking survey (Oct. 25-28; 1,160 likely US voters) finds a severe tightening of the presidential contest, and even before the latest email flap became public knowledge. The poll result finds Clinton leading Trump now by only one percentage point, 46-45 percent, with Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson receiving four percent and Green Party candidate Jill Stein attracting two percent support.

While the ABC/Post analysis memorandum cautions the reader that this track represents only a snippet in time and even raises questions about the viability of its own sampling universe, the consistent movement toward Trump is still significant. It was only eight days ago that the ABC/Post track found the former Secretary of State opening up a commanding 50-38 percent advantage over the Republican businessman. Since that time, her daily tracking lead has dwindled to 49-40 percent (Oct. 24 release), 48-42 percent (October 25), 48-44 percent (October 26), 47-45 percent (October 27), and finally 46-45 percent in the data made public during the weekend.

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Signs of Tightening

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 9, 2016 — The latest presidential polls are providing new sweeping numbers that again suggest the race is becoming more fluid. Four polls were released with sampling periods ending Aug. 2-6, producing very different results.

Conducted over several days in early August, the six polls reported last week projected average Hillary Clinton leads of approximately 8.5 percent. Now, additional data finds the Clinton advantage dropping to five percentage points, including the Los Angeles Times/USC poll that suggests the two are tied.

The LA Times/USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research in partnership with the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics poll is interesting from the perspective that it continually surveys a universe of over 3,200 people that persistently grows. The surveyors hope to reach a respondent pool of 6,000 individuals. One-seventh of the aggregate polling respondents are asked daily whether they will vote in the 2016 presidential election, about their presidential preference, and who they believe will win the contest.

During the four-day swing from Aug. 3-6, the LA Times/USC daily margin between Clinton and Donald Trump fluctuated only between four-tenths of one percent and seven-tenths of one percent. The conclusions are quite different from the other field studies conducted during this time segment but are not necessarily inaccurate.

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