If there’s anything I can impart regarding polls and elections, it’s the need to put everything into proper context. As I’ve illustrated over the years, there are polls that sample poorly and thus prove to be off base. There are polls that are taken out of context for that of which they’re measuring. And there are polls which are credible but which still contain undecided voters that will eventually vote one way or another. The key is to know which way they’ll likely vote in close elections. Unfortunately, our news media, and generally the pollsters themselves don’t provide this type of analysis or explanation when providing polls. As we get closer to elections, I’ll account for all of those variables. For the purpose of this story, however, we’re going to take a look at the relevance of Presidential polling 100 days away from Election Day.
These were the leaders in average accredited polling 100 days away from Election Day in each of the past four Presidential Election cycles:
- 2004: John Kerry
- 2008: Barrack Obama
- 2012: Barrack Obama
- 2016: Hillary Clinton
Notice a trend? In each of the past four Presidential Election cycles, the Democrat’s candidate for President led in an average of accredited polls 100 days from Election Day. Of course, in only two of those four years, did the candidate leading 100 days out win the election. This provides evidence of a few things. First, polling 100 days out is only a 50-50 proposition. Second, when it’s not been predictive it’s errored on the side of the Democrat’s candidate. This is highly instructive as we currently see Joe Biden leading in accredited polling. History suggests that’s the norm at this stage in the cycle. Even for when Republicans win. There’s a lot about this cycle that’s looking like what occurred in 2004.
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