Saturday, January 30, 2016
Iowa Poll, the Steve Harvey of polls
Why do we bother with the Iowa Poll? The final Iowa Poll before the Iowa Caucus has been off by an average of 7.5 points in each of the nine contested contests since 1988, according to numbers at 538.com.
So much for its claim that "The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points."
The poll happy 538 site called it the best poll in Iowa. That is like being the tallest midget.
In the 2012, this vaunted poll assured everyone that Rick Santorum would finish third with 16 points.
He won with 24.5.
Only off by 8.5 points, oh vaunted poll.
In 2008, this vaunted poll assured everyone that John McCain would finish second with 26 points.
He was third with 13.
Only off by 13 points, oh vaunted poll.
In that same race, this vaunted poll assured everyone that Mitt Romney would finish third with 13 points.
He was second with 25.2 points.
Only off by 12.2 points, oh vaunted poll.
Well, it is hard to poll in Iowa, right. Yet the Real Clear Politics Average of Polls had McCain at 11.8 (off by 1.2) and Romney at 26.5 (off by 1.5).
In fact, the Real Clear Politics Average of Polls was a pretty good indicator. Its numbers produced a margin of error of 5 points, plus or minus in 2008, when the Iowa Poll was off by 13. Go check it out.
To be fair, everyone misunderestimated Santorum in 2012. But still, what is the purpose of saying the Iowa Poll is the most accurate when it averages a miss of 7.5 points every time?
I think polls have jumped the cliché.