Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Gallup is Just Not Useful

There was a time when Gallup was the gold standard in polling. Today, their public polls are fairly bad in my view.

8 days ago, Gallup's tracking poll had Romney ahead of Obama by 2 points. Today, Obama is ahead by 7. Sorry, but no.

1) Romney was not ahead by 2 points 8 days ago.
2) Obama is not ahead by 7 points today (although I do think Obama is ahead by a "few" points (maybe 3-4?).
3) Obama did not move the needle by 9 net points in the last 8 days.

If this is Gallup's way of "tracking" the race, it is worse than useless. It is terribly misleading.

Gallup's polling was similarly volatile in 2008. In 2010, their final poll actually overstated the size of the Republican tied. And, if you remember the size of that Republican tide, you'll know that overstating the Republican tide in 2010 was actually pretty hard to do. Now, in 2012, Gallup is generating some negative buzz with their demographic weights and Gallup is suggesting there is a lot of volatility in the electorate that just isn't there, not in the last 8 days anyway.

I'd love for Obama to be up by 7 and I'd also love to be able to say that at the current trajectory, Romney will be in the single digits by the summer. But it is a little more likely that Gallup is producing very bad polls.

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