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On a day when the national media is touting a rise in the national polls by President Obama the City County Observer decided to take some initiative and examine the past results of the polls that are being cited by the media. The best website to go to for examining the widest range of polls is a site called www.realclearpolitics.com. This site publishes daily and average of the last months polls from nine different polls. Today’s average of polls has President Obama leading Mitt Romney by 0.4% nationally down from leading by 4.5% when this article originated.
Two polls have more historical accuracy that the other polls that in some cases overweight Democrats by as much as 11 points. These two polls are Rasmussen Tracking and Gallup Tracking both of which report results of the trailing week as opposed to the flavor of the day. Their algorithms for sampling are slightly different yet both converge well.
For the 2008 election in which Barack Obama defeated John McCain by a 52.9% to 45.6% margin Rasmussen predicted an Obama victory by 52% to 46% while Gallup predicted an Obama victory of 53% to 42%. An average of those polls would have predicted a result of Obama 52.5% (0.75% error to the low side) to McCain 44% (7.8% error to the low side).
Similarly in the 2004 election when George Bush defeated John Kerry by a margin of 50.7% to 48.3 %, these two polls were very accurate with the average of the two predicting a Bush victory by a margin of 49.6% to 47.8% once again missing the margin of victory by less than 1%. Both polls under estimated Bush’s total while Rasmussen over estimated Kerry’s total by a scant 0.2% of the actual tally.
So with so many polls that were predicting an Obama landslide what do the two polls that have been historically accurate from a presidential election perspective predict if the election were held today?
The current numbers for these two polls are as follows:
Rasmussen Tracking: Romney 49% Obama 48%
Gallup Tracking: Romney 50% Obama 49%
Averages: Romney 49.5% Obama 48.5%
Of course the electoral college elects the President of the United States and both Rasmussen and Gallup give President Obama an edge on the basis of his large leads in high population Democrat dominated states like California and New York. Tomorrow should be quite interesting.