But the reality is that the most accurate national poll in 2012 was the RAND Corporation poll. It had Obama winning by 3.8 points. He won by 3.9.
The Los Angeles Times poll this year is the RAND poll
From Sean Trende at Real Clear Politics:
In the end, though, the RAND poll basically got it right. The national polls (though not so much the state polls) were off in 2012. During the closing month of the campaign, they showed, on average, a 0.3 point Romney lead. The RAND poll, by contrast, showed a 3.8 point Obama lead – which was almost exactly correct.
Does that mean the Times poll will be correct this year? Absolutely not. We should treat it as one poll among many, and should note its outlier-ish tendencies. It may be worth watching for trend lines. We might also note that this cycle, it runs contrary to both the national and the state polls, and tends to be off the RCP Average by an even larger margin.
At the same time, though, we should recall that almost all of the objections lodged against the poll could have been lodged against it in 2012. Many were. The poll may well be flat-out wrong in 2016, but its history cautions heavily against dismissing it outright.History also cautions against believing any of the rest of the polls.
They were wrong in 2012.
So wrong that Gallup dropped out of the election polling business, concentrating on the more lucrative economic and trends polling, which unlike election polling can never be proven wrong.
The RAND poll is expensive. You have to keep track of people for six months. Randomly calling people each day is cheap. And inaccurate. One poll keeps calling me asking about the Monongahela County races. That's a couple of hundred miles away. It takes a certain genius to not understand that a "755" number is not in Monongahela County.
Early in his piece, Trende wrote: "First, truth is not decided by committee. That is to say, the fact that the L.A. Times pollsters weight their poll in a different manner than other pollsters do doesn’t make them wrong."
The pollsters got 2012 wrong. RAND did it a different way and got it right.
Trende is most correct in stating RAND's success does not guarantee success this year.
But he left out the real lesson of 2012. By getting it so wrong, the pollsters showed there is nothing scientific about their polls. Might as well throw spaghetti at the wall.
Today, the Los Angeles Times poll has it Trump 44.9, Clinton 43.3.
Please read "Trump the Press," a fun romp that skewers the media experts. It's available as a paperback, and on Kindle.