Q&A – Which Pollster Has The Best Track Record In Florida?

Today’s entry: The DeSantis poll this week led to predictable responses. Republicans loved it because it looked good for him and Democrats said it was right-wing propaganda because they didn’t. Not that a poll at this point really matters but what pollster has the best track record in Florida?

Bottom Line: I’ll start by disagreeing with you. Arguably polls today will matter more than polls a year from now when we’re actually inside of the election cycle. That might sound absurd but here’s why. Democrat’s perceived the front-runner is Nikki Fried who must make a decision about what race she wants to run for. You’re not allowed to run for multiple offices at the same time at the state level in Florida. If Nikki decides she’s running for governor she’d be vacating her post as Agriculture Commissioner. It’s a huge political consideration for her to make.

If you’re evaluating the political risk of the decision, what do you have to go on if not for polling? The point is, you're right, polling today is meaningless in the context of 2022 election outcomes. However, it’s extremely relevant to politicos weighing their next political moves.

Since we’re talking about state races, I’m going to use the 2010, 2014 and 2018 cycles as the basis. It’s tricky in part because there aren’t many pollsters which polled all three cycles. Of those that have though, Mason Dixon has been the most accurate which isn't’ necessarly saying much. Mason Dixon only accurately predicted the 2014 election outcome with their polling showing Alex Sink winning in 2010 and Andrew Gillum in 2018. However, their margin in each final poll is closest to the average outcome. Mason Dixon has averaged missing the final outcome by an average of 1.3%. Incidentally, the worst pollster in Florida is one I’ve discussed previously. Quinnipiac. They were wrong about the outcome in all three elections favoring Democrats by 4% more than the actual outcomes.

What this exercise shows is also instructive in the context where I started with this conversation. Mason-Dixon, the pollster which sparked this conversation this week, is the most accurate in Florida over the past decade but even they most commonly error by producing results that are overly favorable for Democrats. In context, what this means is that if anything, it’s likely DeSantis’s real-time advantage is even bigger than the huge advantage shown in the polls. Incidentally, all of this is why Fried is becoming ever more desperate in her attempts to smear Governor DeSantis, now calling for an FBI vaccine investigation. She wants to gauge how vulnerable he might be before making her political decision. And as the late-great Rush Limbaugh would have said. Don’t doubt me.

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.


Parler & Twitter:@brianmuddradio

Photo by: Chris O'Meara-Pool/Getty Images

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