Unlikely Voter

Poll Analysis and Election Projection

Feeding the hunger for House polling

I’ve given up on polling of individual House districts. Even if we see more than one poll of a given race, it’s usually all from the same pollster for the same client, a local newspaper or media alliance. These polls are erratic and without multiple sources to verify the figures, it’s hard to draw value from them.

So even though I’ll stick with the wide world of generic ballots to do my House analyses, I think some will be very happy to see The Hill’s new series of House polling of a dozen races and counting.

Typically when I’m asked about the polling of a particular House district, it’s by people wanting to know about their own representative. It can be hard not knowing how things are doing. People get so desperate they start using whatever metrics they can to judge the race: how many lawn signs they see, how many television or radio ads are running, or the like.

But a poll is something people can latch onto. Its cold, hard numbers, no matter how uncertain their value or unreliable their source, gives a sense of clarity. So I know my readers will enjoy seeing them, for whatever they are worth, and that’s why I link to them now.

Don’t expect me to look too closely, though. One poll, one time is all too often no better than a shot in the dark, and so I’m not confident enough about any one House seat’s single poll to get too worked up about it. That’s why I built the Swingometer, and it is what I’ll continue to use this year.

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