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May 28, 2011


Do Early Polls Mean Anything?

Taking issue with Nate Silver and others, John Sides posts a nice chart which essentially shows that polls 300 days out from a presidential election have very little predictive value. They begin to have a little more predictive power during the next 3 months or so -- when the eventual nominees are becoming better known during the primaries -- and then increase more sharply again in the 3 months before the election, when the general election campaign is underway.

Jonathan Bernstein: "The only two things to watch, this far out, are: Indicators about the state of the economy, especially how it will likely look next year; and Obama's approval ratings, which incorporate both economic factors and anything else that matters to people. When it comes to predicting who's going to win in the end, nothing else really counts."














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