In this installment of "As The Polls Turn," we again look back at earlier this year to see if we can figure out whether the current group of Presidential polls are nothing more than a bunch of numbers gathered by watching little kids throw darts at a dart board.
A lot of my email looks like this in recent days:
"What about the "fill in the blank" poll? How come you didn't mention that one?"
My answer - just be happy that you have the internet so you can get as much information as you could ever want about the elections, because if I tried to list everything, you would fall asleep before reading to the end of my blog.
Yesterday we looked at how the polls all got the results of the New Hampshire Primary wrong earlier this year, where Obama was predicted to be the 8 point winner, but instead lost by 2.
Let's look at two more states today that should cause us to scratch our heads and wonder just how good the data is that we are reading about with bated breath every day.
Our first stop is Ohio, where on March 4, Hillary Clinton beat Barack Obama by 10 points.
Pollster John Zogby had the race tied right before the primary. Instead it was a 10 point win for Clinton. Right now Zogby has Obama ahead in Ohio by 5 points.
Qunnipiac polled in the primary and had Clinton winning by 4 points, so they missed Clinton by almost 6 points. Right now, Quinnipiac has Obama ahead in Ohio by 9.
Then there is Survey USA, who nailed Clinton's 10 point win in the primary on the nose. Now, Survey USA has a poll showing Obama up 4 in Ohio. For what it's worth, Survey USA had McCain winning by 29 in the primary; he won by 22.
Now let's go to the Old Dominion and Virginia. In the Primary, the last poll average was Obama winning by 17 - instead he won by 28 points over Clinton.
Survey USA had Obama by 22 in its last poll, which wasn't way off. Rasmussen had Obama by 18, missing the final outcome by ten.
Mason Dixon had Obama by 16 points, missing the primary by a dozen. Mason Dixon's latest poll from Virginia had Obama winning only by two. Most polls have Obama by 7-9 points.
I throw all this data at you to remind you that one pollster does really well in one state and then isn't close in another.
I have no idea what it means for next Tuesday other than be careful about quoting the data too convincingly.
Enjoy expanded coverage of college football for UGa, Tech and the SEC, with our SEC Insider, covering all Southeastern Conference matchups and articles by AJC staff and regional newspapers that cover the SEC.