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August 11, 2014

Are Bad Pollsters Copying Good Pollsters?

Harry Enten: "The political polling industry is a mess. Fewer and fewer people are willing to respond to telephone surveys, particularly automated ones, and the costs of live interviews are climbing ever higher. Meanwhile, polls have gained prominence in the political media... and the Internet seems willing to give a home to almost any survey."

"Demand is up, and quality supply is down. The result: pollsters that use nontraditional methodologies such as online and automated surveys are getting more press than ever, and they get included in the models of the main polling aggregators..."

"The problem is that many of these nontraditional polls may be cheating, adjusting their results to resemble higher-quality polls. We can see this by looking at polling from the final three weeks of Senate campaigns since 2006: in races without traditional, live-interview surveys (what we'll call gold-standard polling), nontraditional polls have had significantly higher errors than they've had in races with at least one gold-standard poll."


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