Saturday, March 16, 2013

Presidential Polls Already ?

You're probably thinking that it's way too early to be looking at presidential polls for 2016 -- and of course, you would be right. There's at least three years before we need to be worrying about that. But you regular readers will know that I have a weakness for polls, so let's just say I couldn't help myself.

You may also be telling yourself that a poll this early can't be actually predictive of the eventual nominee. Generally, that's true. The last five polls taken this early on Democratic nominees was wrong about the final nominee all five times. But as excellent poll analyst Nate Silver says, that is not true with Republicans. Out of the last five polls taken on Republicans this early, those early polls predicted the eventual winner 3 out of 5 times (60%).

So there may be at least some predictive value in early polls. But I think the predictive value may well be switched this year. For the Democrats, I believe Hillary is a shoo-in. All she has to do is say she wants the nomination, and she will have it. It's different for the Republicans. The early polls show Rubio with a lead, but he is already starting to stumble (remember his turning the GOP answer to the State of the Union into pretty much a joke?). The GOP nomination is still wide-open.

NOTE -- Most of the above numbers are from Public Policy Polling surveys.

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