Tuesday, November 13, 2012

New Rasmussen Poll is Out. Who Cares?

A new Rasmussen poll is out that says Americans want the feds to extend the variety of tax cuts. 

It's a Rasmussen poll.  Should we care?

Nate Silver broke down how well the various polling firms did in the 2012 election.  Among the firms that did five or more polls, Rasmussen was fourth from the bottom.   Or to put it another way, out of 23 firms, Rasmussen finished 20th.

As Silver wrote:
Several polling firms got notably poor results, on the other hand. For the second consecutive election — the same was true in 2010 — Rasmussen Reports polls had a statistical bias toward Republicans, overestimating Mr. Romney’s performance by about four percentage points, on average. 
So this is the poll we're supposed to breathlessly quote and consider on an issue of importance?  Or as Silver noted:
Rasmussen Reports uses an online panel along with the automated calls that it places. The firm’s poor results this year suggest that the technique will need to be refined. At least they have some game plan to deal with the new realities of polling. In contrast, polls that place random calls to landlines only, or that rely upon likely voter models that were developed decades ago, may be behind the times.
Polling is getting very interesting, given the difficulties of landlines versus mobile phones, given the awful nature of robo-call polls (which, by federal law, cannot call mobile phones), and given the disaster certain polling firms managed in the latest election -- with last place held by that most prestigious of polling names, Gallup.

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