Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ignore Those Polls!

Taegan Goddard yesterday posted an ARG South Carolina poll that had Romney at 25%, Palin at 16%, Bachmann at 13%...wait a second. Stop!

There's just no reason to even begin to look at state polls, other than Iowa and perhaps New Hampshire, this early.

National polls? They still tell us very little, but regardless of how useful they are for prediction, they are still worth noting -- because if nothing else, we can think of good national polling numbers as a resource for candidates. Even if it's just name recognition. We can think about how valuable a resource it might be, but that's the right way to deal with it.

But individual state polling? Useless. Even in early states (other than Iowa and New Hampshire, that is). We know that results in those two states as well as everything else that will happen this year will shake things up; we don't know and can't predict how that will translate in individual states; and state-level polling is subject to all sorts of distortions, without having more to add.

1 comment:

  1. Wrong! C'mon Jon. These polls are very helpful. Everyone remembers how the ARG poll taken during the same period in 2007 correctly predicted that Rudy Giuliani would edge out Fred Thompson in the South Carolina primary with McCain and Romney a distant third and fourth respectively. Having won South Carolina and busting the Florida-or-bust meme, Giuliani went on to capture the Republican nomination.

    Seriously though, you're absolutely right. Let's see what happens in Iowa and New Hampshire first and then we can say something about South Carolina.


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