October 24, 2012

How to follow the Polls (Updated)

This is a great post by Jonathan Bernstein over at A plain blog about politics. It reminds me of my earlier post on how I stay informed; in fact, I'm glad to know there's a fellow geek out there (misery loves company). I, too, regularly check Simon Jackman's model at Pollster and the RCP average. And his advice to rely on poll aggregators rather than single polls is essential advice to follow. If you don't already follow Bernstein, I would encourage you to do so.

I should have mentioned that I also regularly follow Nate Silver's model at Fivethirtyeight. There is an excellent post by Sam Popkin talking about that model and Silver's new book. Another good model I follow is Drew Linzer's Votamatic.

Here are two excellent posts describing the logic behind poll averages and forecasting models. The less technical one should help you understand why a poll average for Obama of 50.5% leads to a 2/3 chance of him winning the election. The more technical one describes more fully the HuffPollster model of Simon Jackman.

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