I’m really sick of all the diaries posting prospective GE polls numbers, no matter who they are supporting. Obama leads everyone in Zogby, woop-dee-do! Edwards leads in Rassmussen, oh my lord! Clinton leads in ARG? Yowsie!

So to shut you up, here are some of the worst disasters of General Election polling from the last 24 years of Presidential elections. After last weeks debacle in New Hampshire, can we just argue on the issues and the REASONS why we believe our candidate is electable, not the unreliable numbers?

More below the fold.


Late July – Gallup
Jimmy Carter 62%
Gerald Ford 30%

Final Results

Carter 50.1%
Ford 48.0%

Average MOE – 14.95%

This sort of shift would make it a blowout for either side of the aisle.

1980 (this one’s for those of you who say – “polls shift over time”)

Nov 1980, Gallup Pre-Election Poll
Carter 44%
Reagan 41%

Final Results

Reagan 50.7%
Carter 41.0%

Average MOE – 5.85% = the margin of error in every GE poll this year. This really embarrassed the pollsters, so of course, they went ahead and did it again.


5/17 – NYT/CBS
Michael Dukakis 49%
George Bush 39%

Final Results
Bush 53.4%

Dukakis 45.6%

Average MOE – 7.9%

A shift like what occurred in 1988 would make any Democrat the winner or the loser by a healthy margin.


June 1992 Time/CNN
Ross Perot 37%
George Bush 24%
Bill Clinton 24%

Final Results
Clinton 43.0%
Bush 37.4%
Perot 18.9%

Average MOE – 20.1%. Imagine if Bloomberg’s runs, I foresee similar dynamics.


Sept 2000 Newsweek
Al Gore 49%
George W. Bush 39%

Final Results
Bush 47.9%
Gore 48.4%

Average MOE – 4.8%

So all the undecided went for Bush, eh? Polls are worthless in close races. Hmmm, sounds familiar, doesn’t it?


If you thought that last week was the first time the polls got it
wrong, look at these eerily familial headlines, and guess what election
they came from. One is from New Hampshire! (answers and links to articles below)

1) Where the Polls Went Wrong

2) Those Fluttering, Stuttering Polls

3) And the Polls: What Went Wrong?; Sampling Technique Is Apparently Not So ‘Scientific’

4) We Can Still Stop Creeping Pollocracy

5) Why the Polls Were Wrong

In everyone of one those above elections, we can point to different factors that determined whether or not a candidate was “electable”. Dukakis failed to respond to Bush’s Horton attacks effectively. Perot’s message was co-opted by Clinton (It’s the Economy, stupid.) In hindsight, we have 20/20 vision. In foresight, we’re blind. Huckabee and Romney are relatively unknown nationwide, polls might be understating their support. Guliani and Clinton have near universal name recognition, perhaps overstating their report? Who knows.

So stop posting diaries, and especially, stop rec’ing diaries that do nothing but post GE polls. Let’s keep the dialog here more substantive than a Reuters wire.

Trivia Answers

1) 1980

2) 1976

3) 1948

4) 1984

5) 2008

Crossposted at DailyKos

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